Layaway reboot gives holiday shoppers options, flexibility

Program can be win-win for customers, retailers

INDIANAPOLIS - Layaway is back this holiday shopping season, as major retailers are turning back the clock.

Kmart is committed to its layaway program and is running a layaway special.

"Right now we are running where there is no fee at all," said Tom Lanser, manager of Super Kmart. "That is, until this Wednesday. Generally, there is a $5 initiation fee and then there is 15 percent down or 10 percent of your layaway."

Toys are the main items that people are putting on layaway, although electronics are also popular items for layaway shoppers. Christmas spending has been going down, and this purchasing option might perk it up.

"Retailers are offering the layaway as a way to encourage people to buy their gifts and hopefully responsibly budget their money a little more," said Kim Donahue, with the IU Kelley School of Business. "Sadly, people are starting to put more on their credit cards again. We're starting to see a little default on credit cards again. This is a way to avoid that."

Donahue said layaway can be a win-win for the retailer and the customers.

Dawn Jones has completed her layaway payments and said she is quite satisfied with the process.

"It's convenient. I just do all my shopping at one time and get it over with," said Dawn Jones. "(It's) not really cheaper, it's just more convenient."

Layaway shoppers need to read everything they sign. Sometimes layaway deals have hidden fees.

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