We need your feedback. We are hearing, strictly anecdotally, that Wal-Mart and Toys R Us may be struggling to manage the big response to their layaway programs. Again, this is strictly anecdotal but here is what we are hearing:
1. Some stores have stopped taking layaway because there is no more room in the back rooms.
2. Some stores are having difficulty getting inventory out of the backrooms because they are stuffed with layaway.
3. Some vendors are complaining that their goods are not getting to the floor.
Here is what we find confusing. We understand that Wal-Mart is warehousing its layaway in multiple containers behind the stores. (We wonder how they find your layaway when you are ready to pick up.) If that is the case why would there be a problem in the backrooms?
Toys R Us offered layaway last year so again we find it confusing that they would be hearing of problems this year but not last. Are they doing much more layaway business this year?
No matter what, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us are certainly benefiting from layaway (our sources tell us that shopper traffic in the stores is running Toys R Us #1, Wal-Mart #2 and Target #3).
Are any of you hearing of these problems and, if so, whether they are broad in scope or simply local issues? Please let us know.