The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

More turning to layaway in holiday push

Mario Montalvo/ multimedia editor

Because of the economy, consumers are more budget-conscious than ever, but many big-name retailers are reintroducing layaway programs to rekindle holiday sales.

Retail giant Wal-Mart eliminated its layaway program in 2006 but brought it back this year making more items available and extending the layaway period.

For $10, or 10 percent down, shoppers can set selected purchases aside and pay off the balance in installments to help ease the financial strain often associated with the holiday season. A $5 open fee is required but is refunded to a Wal-Mart gift card upon full payment.

Best Buy’s layaway program requires a minimum purchase of $250 with 25 percent down and a 5 percent nonrefundable service fee. Payments are made biweekly over eight or 12 weeks.

NE student Brandon Van Wyk took advantage of Wal-Mart’s layaway program last year to purchase his 42-inch Sony plasma TV for Christmas, he said.

“I really didn’t want to have to front all of the money at once,” he said.

Van Wyk said the experience was positive, but blames the decline of layaway on credit cards.

“With credit cards, people have a constant layaway system at their disposal,” he said.

Target and JCPenney stores don’t offer layaway, but a handful of other retailers have followed Wal-Mart’s lead, many offering the service for free.

Department store Sears resurrected its layaway program in 2008 and is waiving its service fee this holiday along with K-Mart, owned by the same parent company. Payments can be made in-store or online.

Toys-R-Us offers free layaway during the holidays with 20 percent down.

GameStop offers free layaway on consoles for the holidays.

NW student and GameStop employee Aby George said many people haven’t used layaway this season at his store in Saginaw, but they’ve pre-ordered popular games and consoles like the WiiU and paid them off in increments before their release dates.

“Every time you come into the store, you can put $1 or $5 until you finish paying it off or before the release date,” he said.

Not everybody finds layaway programs useful.

Distance learning student Sandra Stojanović said she would not use layaway to buy her holiday presents.

“I found layaway isn’t worth it really, at least at Wal-Mart,” she said via Facebook.

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