Wal-Mart to Lose Layaway Program

SEPTEMBER 14, 2006 -- POSTED AT 9:00 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Thursday the retail giant Wal-Mart made a big announcement. They will soon be phasing out their layaway program. Some employees of the company heard it was because competitors weren't offering the program anymore, but we asked local competitors, K-Mart, Sears, and Fred's and they all said they do offer layaway programs. We caught up with a few Wal-Mart shoppers to get their reaction.

"I think it will maybe draw a few customers away if they can use layaway say at K-Mart or other stores of that nature, then they might go there to make big purchases," says Ashton Snowden.

Another shopper added...

"When people do Christmas shopping, I think that it's a very big tradition for Wal-Mart and they haven't changed anything in the past, therefore I kind of confused as to why they would even take away layaway," says Nikki Meacham.

In a statement from Wal-Mart's Corporate Office, they said "The demand for layaway service has declined steadily as consumers turn to other options, such as online shopping, gift cards, and no-cost credit alternatives."  However, some shoppers feel credit cards aren't a smart alternative.

"For less fortunate people, I just feel that that's maybe not an option for them and layaway's such a big deal that they can just pay on it little by little, whereas credit cards they can get into major debt," says Meacham.

But with layaway or without, some say it won't really affect a corporation the size of Wal-Mart.

"To tell you the truth, Wal-Mart's so big, I don't think it's going to affect very much. Not competition wise, their still going to make a lot of money," says Jeff Lunnie, another Wal-Mart shopper.

Customers will have until November 19th to place items in layaway for this Christmas season and all merchandise must be picked up by December 8th.