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Wal-Mart Revives Layaway
Reading the Wall Street Journal this morning, Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the country, has had customer requests to revive their layaway plan that was cancelled five years ago. A layaway plan of course is where a customer makes payment on merchandise and picks it up after it is paid for. In Wal-Mart's case, the customers will have to have it all paid for by December 16 in order to get the goods by Christmas. A customer can layaway anything that costs $15 or more as long as the whole ticket amounts to $50 or more.
For furniture retailers, a $50 sale hardly gets someone a lamp, no less a living room set. But the larger point to consider with this policy change from the world's largest retailer is that they have a lot better research and analytics to determine how to get that last bit of revenue out of their customer base. One would assume that Wal-Mart is seeing that this Christmas season is going to be very challenging and they are coming up with alternative financing methods to drive business in a tough economic climate.
So the question for aggressive furniture retailers is how can you implement a layaway or other alternative financing solution to appeal to those customers who would really like to have new furniture for the holidays, but do not have the discretionary cash or credit to afford it right now?