Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wal-Mart Stores To End Layaway Service

Bentonville, Ark. - In another departure from its traditional roots, Wal-Mart Stores said Thursday it will end layaway service this year due to falling demand and rising costs. The service originated in 1962 to assist the cash-strapped rural customers that Sam Walton was committed to serving. Effective Nov. 19, Wal-Mart will stop accepting items for layaway and the pickup deadline for existing layaway goods will be mid-December. Layaway services are used mainly by consumers at the lowest end of the income scale, who don’t have credit cards and may not qualify for credit.

“Demand for layaway services has declined steadily as consumers turn to current options, including on-line shopping, shopping cards and no-cost credit alternatives that were not available when the company was started,” said Pat Curran, executive VP of Wal-Mart store operations.

Following the news from Wal-Mart, Kmart reaffirmed its commitment to layaway services.

“As a value-added service and as part of the company's mission to build long-lasting relationships with our customers, Kmart continues to offer a comprehensive layaway plan at nearly 1300 locations nationwide," said Don Germano, senior VP, Kmart retail. Kmart has offered layaway services for nearly 40 years.


  1. My husband had talked about this recently. I was shocked. I've never used lay-a-way...but I disagree that it was/is just for cash strapped rural customers as the article suggests.

    When I worked at Belk-we had lay-a-way. I dare say there were not a lot of cash strapped folk that were coming in Belk putting fine china and expensive leather coats on lay-a-way.

  2. I'm not a big layaway person either, but it comes in handy sometimes. Back before credit cards became so popular, it was the only way to get the nicer things you needed.

    I used layaway on the watch I bought from Fink's Jewelers not too long ago, and I'm not the "cash strapped rural customer' either.

    They're going to have to come back later and brign it back into the stores, i think. the backlash will be staggering once people realize what's going on.

  3. I disagree with the article. Layaway is not only for cash strapped consumers. It is also for the budget concious shopper. Walmart is making excuses to move away from the principle's and ideas that Mr. Walton started so long ago. Layawy, is a great option to have. It can certainly keep you from pulling out a credit card. You can pay a little at a time. And eventually own the item without the finance charge or interest.

  4. I agree with your disagreement, Anonymous