Believe it or not, Christmas is only about three months away, and while a better economy and lower gas prices may be at the top of all our wish lists, local retailers have their own plans for kick starting the shopping season.
They are hoping that encouraging layaways will be the key. On Tuesday, another major retailer offered up an option for doing just that on big-ticket items.
Call it a sign of economic hard times. HEB announced it is kicking off the holiday shopping season with its very own layaway program.
Retailers hoping that, come Christmas morning, there will be more gifts under the tree and more green in their tills; and retailers know that value is almost a must during tough economic times.
It's what retailers a long time ago considered the norm. Layaways were just part of what most retailers offered. Now, with those of us trying to stretch our dollars more and more, it's come back, albeit for the holiday shopping season.
For retailers like K-Mart in Portland, the layaway has always been a Christmas tradition. Mega retailer Wal-Mart tried the idea last year, and they're bringing it back again this year.
"We know how important layaways were to our customers last year," Wal-Mart Manager Josh Comer said. "So we decided to have customers have the Christmas that they want to."
For HEB, the holiday layaway idea is just something that was necessary for these difficult economic times.
"As we expand our product offerings in electronics, toys and small appliances, we believe this layaway program will help our families stretch their dollars," HEB Food Leader Martin Salazar said.
Now each retailer has their own set of rules and fees. For example, Wal-Mart charges a five-percent fee that will be refunded in a $5 gift card once you pick up your layaway.
Each retailer requires a small down payment. For Wal-Mart, it is $10 or a 10-percent down payment, whichever is greater; but it is best to check with whichever store you plan to shop at to get more information.
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