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Layaway programs make a comeback

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Layaway programs make a comeback
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As you're compiling your holiday gift lists, you may be overwhelmed by how you will pay for it all. One way of budgeting for the holidays is to lay it away. It was popular for decades and is now making its return during these tough economic times. Our Iris St. Meran has more on this old trend's comeback.

UNITED STATES -- Can you teach an old shopper new tricks? As the holiday shopping season kicks off, you may not have to.

Syracuse University Assistant Professor of Retail Practice Amanda Nicholson said, "With an increasingly price conscientious consumer out there, layaways have become more popular again and I think that's why you're seeing the marketing of them directly to the consumer."

After it shelved its Christmas Layaway in 2006, Wal-Mart announced Monday it will now bring it back this year. This video is posted on the retail giant's website.

"Our customers have told us they want a hassle-free layaway option for Christmas. We're excited to bring that to them," said Wal-Mart Spokesperson Tara Raddohl.

Stores like Herb Philipson's have always had a layaway program. They offer it free year round in addition to one for the holiday shopping season. Signs are posted throughout the store.

"If customers are looking at items or whatever, especially if they say, 'you know I'm not sure if I want it or this.' You can put it on layaway or how long is the sale, I might not be able to pick it up until the sale is over. We say you can put it on layaway right now," said Store Manager Gordon Young.

One benefit is that they don't have to put a big purchase on a credit or debit card. Instead, they can make interest free pays over a short period of time.

The retailer always wins as long as customers are buying.

Nicholson said, "Although it actually costs retailers money to put these types of programs on, in the end they're hoping to win back shoppers."

A win she believes will stay around as people continue to be more conservative with their spending and shy away from credit cards.

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