BENTONVILLE, ARK. –
Walmart and its sister Sam’s Club
division are introducing new programs to drive CE traffic and
sales in the back half of the year.
For Walmart, the incentive is a Christmas layaway program
for consumer electronics (and toys) at all its stores between
Oct. 17 and Dec. 16.
The offer excludes contract wireless phones and products
priced less than $15.
The world’s largest retailer said its customers have indicated
that they are most interested in layaway for those two
categories, and that they need the option the most during
Walmart dropped its layaway program for all products except
fine jewelry in 2006.
“We’re always looking for ways to ease budget strain for
our customers, and we know this holiday season in particular
brings with it additional financial pressure,” said Walmart’s
chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton.
Walmart follows Kmart and sister chain Sears, which revived
their layaway programs in 2008 to help cash-strapped
consumers during the depths of the recession. In a research
note, Credit Suisse retail analyst Gary Balter said the program
helped drive relatively strong fourth-quarter results at
Kmart over the last two years, and described Walmart’s reentry
as “a serious body blow.”
Walmart said its program will enable customers to make
payments when they want and for how much they want, although
items must be paid in full and picked up on or before
Dec. 16. Customers must make a total minimum layaway purchase
of $50, and pay a 10 percent down payment on the total
purchase and a one-time non-refundable $5 service fee.
A $10 fee will be charged for canceled orders or purchases
not picked up by Dec. 16.
Layaway orders can be initiated and retrieved at most
counters, and payments can be made
at any register, the retailer said.
Meanwhile, Sam’s Club is providing free delivery and installation,
and a $50 credit toward Vudu-streamed movies,
with every in-store purchase of a 70-inch Sharp Aquos Quattron
Sam’s Club outsources its delivery and installation services
to New, which maintains a nationwide network of 11,000
contractors and installers.
The Sharp display is the largest ever sold by Walmart’s
wholesale club division, which is retailing the TV for $2,997.
The incentives are part of Sam’s Club’s September
“Home Entertainment Month” promotion, which also
includes sale prices on home theater systems, tablets,
Blu-ray Discs, mounts and accessories both in-store and
through Sept. 30.
In addition, single-item CE purchases of $499 or more
that are made with Sam’s Club private-label credit card will
accrue no interest if paid in full within 18 months.
“Everyone is excited for football and Sam’s Club wants to
help our members prepare for the season with great deals
on home entertainment,” said Sam’s Club merchandising VP
Other sale items include:
• a Philips 55-inch LCD TV with MediaConnect for $998;
• a Samsung 55-inch LED smart TV for $1,498;
• a Sony 3D Wi-Fi Blu-ray home theater for $379;
• Vizio’s Wi-Fi Tablet for $289, and;
• Star Wars episodes 1-3 and 4-6 Blu-ray sets for $39.98.