Toys "R" Us enhanced its layaway program by dropping some fees and Walmart quickly responded.
Toys "R" Us dropped the $5 service fee and minimum purchase requirement from its layaway program in a bid to capture sales of those who begin their holiday shopping early.The company said it changed the rules for its layaway program, instituted in 2009, to waive the $5 upfront service fee and eliminate the minimum purchase requirement for all orders created in stores through October 31.
"Providing our customers flexible payment terms, without requiring an upfront service fee, is our most attractive layaway offer yet," said Troy Rice, EVP of stores and services for the 875 store U.S. division of Toys "R" Us U.S. "We continue to look for ways to help our customers stretch their budgets, and by taking advantage of this free layaway option, they can make a series of small payments over time, as they begin to think about what might be on their children's holiday wish lists."
After October 31, the company will charge the $5 fee and other rules will continue to apply. For example, regardless of when the order was created, there is a 20% down payment requirement and shoppers have 45 days from the time the order was initiated to pay for at least half of the their order. Orders must be paid in full by and picked up by December 16 or there is a $10 cancellation fee.
Modification of the layaway program follows a move announced by Walmart in late August to move start date of its layaway program up by 30 days to September 16. As for fees, at that time of the announcement Walmart had increased the fee to open a layaway account to $15 from $5 last year, but hours after Toys "R" Us announced its program, Walmart said it was "rolling back" a fee it had yet to begin collecting to the $5 level.
"This is a direct response to feedback we received since announcing this year’s holiday layaway program," said Duncan Mac Naughton, Walmart’s chief merchandising and marketing officer. "Customers who make their final payment will receive a refund of the $5 fee on a Walmart gift card. We believe this rollback strengthens our layaway offering. It’s even more attractive to our customers and makes Walmart more competitive in the marketplace."
Other terms of Walmart’s program are comparable to