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 the holidays.
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 stores’
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 LED TV.
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 on
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 Jason Shaw.
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.