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Major Retailers Battle For Layaway Customers As Sears Offers Shipping

The layaway battle continues as Sears Holdings announced that its online layaway program would enjoy the enhancement of a ship to home service. The company’s layaway program in general will get a sprucing up from the pruning of associated fees during designed holiday season periods.

The new shipping service for online layaway also is available on store kiosks. It enables shoppers to select, purchase and schedule delivery of products directly to their homes. In doing so, they can bypass the layaway line at the store. Both retailers will begin the exclusive layaway ship-to-home service starting November 7.

Both the company’s Sears and Kmart chains will provide layaway without service fees online and in-store leading up to the holiday season. Kmart announced that it was removing layaway charges last month.  

The removal of layaway service fees responds to the extra financial strain the holiday season can bring consumers and provides added value for holiday shoppers, Sears said.

“We witnessed a positive consumer response from Kmart’s free layaway news, and the latest announcement of home delivery and Sears’ free layaway are proof of our commitment to providing our customers value and convenience,” said Jai Holtz, vp/financial services, Sears Holdings. “Our exclusive online layaway ship-to-home delivery service provides a convenient alternative to customers who prefer to make their layaway purchases from the privacy of their own home.”

Kmart has removed layaway service fees through November 17 while Sears has eliminated layaway service fees from September 29 to October 29, and November 2 to December 3. The ship-to-home layaway option begins November 7 and covers a wide array of products, Sears Holdings asserted.

Kmart began to offer online layaway in 2009 in response to the soft economy and tight consumer credit, reinstituting a service largely abandoned by retailers. Walmart decided to restore layaway last year. The retailer announced this year that it would cut its layaway fee from $15 to $5 and refund the fee on a gift card when the final payment is made on a product purchased through the service.