Layaway more of an option for holiday shoppers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) It's an option you've heard of in the past. Now Layaway is back, and it's because stores are realizing in this economy, shoppers are trying to live within their means.

Big box retail stores are noticing more credit conscious shoppers. So places like Walmart have reintroduced layaway this year. Toys "R" Us has expanded its programs in an effort to increase sales. Some of the early spending numbers show an increase already. The national retail federation says this past Black Friday weekend broke records. The average spending per person rose nine percent.

Stores have been anticipating this increase, and have been pushing for layaway. The thought is if shoppers are able to make small payments to purchase items, then they are more likely to buy more. While some say it's an affordable idea, others believe there are other ways to save a buck.

"I think in today's economy it's a very good thing to have layaway to tell you the truth," said shopper Carolyn Grubb. "Because a lot of people have lost their jobs, they still want to have Christmas particularly for their children, so I think layaway is a perfect idea."

"I have," said shopper Crystal Breeding. "The only problem that I have with it is you forget what you put in there by the time you pick it up. So I think this way you're able to get the better deals."

There's a lot of fine print to the layaway game, and you have to pay to play. Most stores charge a service fee for using layaway. And then there's the actual payment plan, which is different from store to store. Most stores have fees if you don't pay for at least half of the item in a certain amount of days, or if you want to cancel. So experts say it's important to look at all the rules and fees in the beginning, and to have everything in writing.

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