Merchant Innovation

Walmart Kicks Off Holiday Layaway Season Early

Two weeks earlier than last year, the world’s largest retailer announced its holiday layaway program officially begins today.

It’s not quite the season of giving (and shopping) just yet — but Walmart is primed and ready to get a jump on the holiday season. This year, Walmart’s holiday layaway program — which will launch today (Aug. 28) — is updated with a lower price threshold for eligible items, now $10 with a $50 minimum basket, the company said in a press release yesterday (Aug. 27).

There is no fee to open a layaway account, but customers do need to put down 10 percent and ensure all layaway items are picked up by Dec. 14.

Providing a layaway service, which Walmart brought back in 2011 after a five-year hiatus, helps the company to appeal to shoppers who may have limited access to credit or no credit at all, Fortune reported.

The company also announced the launch of its premiere Toy Week, offering sneak peeks into the biggest holiday trends. The event culminates with the Force Friday shopping event on Sept. 4, when new and exclusive “Star Wars” merchandise will be made available at the retailer.

"Outside of the holiday season, we could be looking at the biggest week of 2015 for toys and we’re giving customers every reason to choose Walmart,” said Anne Marie Kehoe, VP of toys at Walmart, in a company statement. “We’ve made a tradition out of letting kids tell us which toys will be most popular during the holidays. Between their selections this year and the excitement around ‘Star Wars,’ parents know exactly what will top kids’ wish lists, and they can count on us for great prices."

The retailer’s Toy Week and holiday layaway kickoff announcements may build upon the trends Walmart reported on in its second-quarter earnings earlier this month.

While Walmart’s lower than expected earnings pushed its stock down on the day it reported its second quarter earnings, it wasn’t all bad news.

During a time when most bricks-and-mortar retailers are struggling to get more feet through their doors, Walmart has seen an increase in traffic and sales. Sales increased 1.5 percent in the quarter, and foot traffic increased by 1.3 percent (up from last year’s Q2 traffic dip of 1.1 percent).

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