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Sears Offering Majaps On Layaway

Sears is extending its layaway program
to major appliances.

The company’s extended-payment
plan was first re-introduced at sister
chain Kmart during the 2008 holiday
season and was later extended to most
categories at Sears.

Layaway plans appeared during
the Great Depression to help cashstrapped
consumers pay for goods interest-
free over an extended period of
time, but their popularity waned in the
1980s with the increased availability of
credit cards.

Sears said it added majaps to the layaway
list to help maintain sales momentum
as the federally funded “cash for appliances”
rebate program concludes.

“For customers who haven’t taken
advantage of the government rebate
program, Sears’ layaway presents
the opportunity to purchase more efficient appliances, while managing their
budget,” said Susan Ehrlich, financial
services president for Sears Holdings.
“Programs such as layaway offer
a smart solution by making big-ticket
items more affordable.”

Sears cited a national survey it commissioned
showing that more than 33
percent of consumers would consider
using layaway for home appliance purchases.
“Our customer spoke, so we listened,”
Ehrlich said.

The plan, available in stores or online

, requires a
contract initiation fee of $5 and a down
payment of $15 or 20 percent. Biweekly
payments are then made for the
length of the contract.

Sears also plans to roll out an extended
in-store layaway program this fall
which will give customers more time to
complete their payments.

In addition to offering majaps on layaway,
Sears recently launched “The Big
Switch,” an initiative to encourage families
to remove and recycle millions of inefficient appliances, and upgrade to new
Energy Star-rated models that can help
them save more than $2,500 on their
utility bills over the life of the product.