Wal-Mart bringing back layaways for holiday shopping

Bentonville, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores will introduce a holiday layaway plan effective Oct. 17 through Dec. 16. The program has a minimum layaway purchase of $50, and requires a 10% down payment. If the program is successful, Wal-Mart said it may extend it throughout the year.

When Wal-Mart phased out its previous layaway offer in September 2006, such programs had fallen out of popularity. But Sears and some merchants brought back layaways as the recession cut into spending.

"We're always looking for ways to ease budget strain for our customers, and we know this holiday season brings with it additional financial pressure," said Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising officer at Wal-Mart's U.S. division. "This was a key component that our customers asked us for."

In other holiday news, Wal-Mart said that beginning on Monday, it will unveil price cuts on dozens of holiday toys to $15. It also plans to start offering small samples of holiday merchandise, including outdoor decor, later this month -- two weeks earlier than a year ago.