A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece entitled “Kmart, Toys R Us, Lay Away and the Dollar General Shopper.” In it, I spoke about Kmart’s advantage over Wal-Mart in offering a lay-away program to shoppers who want to be able to pay for their purchase closer to their actual use date. In other words, why pay for that great new sweater in August when you aren’t really going to need it until October. By using lay-away, you get that sweater before it sells out but you don’t have to pay for it until you really need it.
I wrote that, in a struggling economy, shoppers are less likely to anticipate seasons by buying early. That gave Kmart an advantage over retailers who did not offer lay-away.
Well, Wal-Mart figured that out as well. According to the New York Times,
“Wal-Mart said on Thursday that it planned to bring back its layaway payment plan for the holidays, an indication that shoppers at the nation’s largest retailer were feeling more and more strapped.”