* Walmart brought service back in 2011 after a 5-yr hiatus
* Toys R Us to offer free layaway for all orders by Oct. 31
Sept 4 Wal-Mart Stores Inc is trimming
the fee for this year's U.S. holiday season layaway plan back to
$5 after customers complained that the new $15 fee it announced
two weeks ago was too high.
Layaway, which allows a customer to keep a product on hold
at the store and pay for it over time, helped boost holiday
sales for Walmart when it brought the service back in 2011 after
a five-year hiatus.
In August, Walmart said it would bring layaway back a month
early this year, in mid-September, to give shoppers more time to
pay for holiday gifts.
At that time, it said the opening fee for the service would
be raised to $15 from $5 and that the fee would be given back in
the form of a Walmart gift card if payments are completed on
Now, Walmart is retreating to a $5 fee, which will still be
refunded with a gift card if shoppers complete their payments.
The reduced fee "is a direct response to feedback we
received since announcing this year's holiday layaway program,"
Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer
for Walmart U.S., said in a statement on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, its rival in the toy space, Toys R Us, said it
would offer free layaway for all orders created by Oct. 31.
After that date a $5 service fee will apply, the world's largest
specialty toy retailer said.
Toys R Us Inc introduced layaway in its stores in
2009 for items like bikes, swing sets, dollhouses, play kitchens
and more. Since then, it has added new items such as video game
hardware and tablets to the list of products eligible for this
pay-over-time option. In 2011, layaway was expanded to include
all playthings at Toys R Us stores.