Stores now offering free layaway


Labor Day has wrapped up, marking the unofficial end of summer. So maybe that has some people thinking about holiday shopping? No surprise, retailers certainly are, like Toys-R-Us. They just announced free layaway until Halloween. After that, it's five bucks. {}There is no minimum purchase price. Customers have until December 16th to pick up their orders."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," said Troy Rice, executive vice president for stores and services at Toys R Us U.S.It seems the toy store could be trying to compete with places like Walmart and Target. {}Last month, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it was expanding its own layaway program after seeing high customer demand for layaway during last year's winter holiday season. Its new program will last a month longer than last year's and will include more items than the toys and electronics featured last year. But there is still a minimum purchase requirement and a $15 fee for an open account.{}Layaway plans have become more popular lately due to uncertainty in the economy. {}