HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As merchants prepare for the coming holidays, more and more of them are turning to payment alternatives such as layaway to help shoppers get the most out of the busiest shopping season of the year. Kmart and Sears, however, have proudly been providing budget-conscious families with the convenience of layaway year round, recognizing that families face financial pressure no matter the time of year.
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"Layaway has been a core strategy of ours for more than 40 years," said Salima Yala, divisional vice president, Layaway, Sears Holdings. "At Kmart and Sears, we realize that layaway isn't just a trend created by harsh economic times; it's a financial tool that can help families successfully manage their budgets and expenses at any time. That's why our layaway program enables shoppers to purchase necessities – beyond favorite holiday toys and electronics – and pay over a fixed period of time."
Kmart and Sears are one-stop destinations for affordability and a variety of payment options. From back-to-school apparel and holiday gifts to big-ticket items like appliances, Kmart and Sears' layaway programs allow customers to shop for the items they need the most, when they need it. The retailers' layaway programs also provide families with the following features, among others, making managing a budget convenient, flexible and rewarding.
- A Full Range of Quality Products and Popular Items – From apparel and bedding to newborn necessities, furniture and stationery, layaway at Kmart and Sears is available on countless brands and the seasons' most popular items.
- Layaway Contracts Year-Round – Layaway at Kmart or Sears is available all year long and allows shoppers to purchase items using an eight- or 12-week payment plan. Contracts can be initiated both online and in store during normal store hours, including major shopping "holidays" such as Black Friday. Following a $15 or 10 percent down payment (eight-week contract), bi-weekly payments are made for the length of the contract. The initiation fee on all new eight-week layaway contracts is just $5.
- No Minimum Item Amount – At Sears and Kmart, there is no minimum dollar amount for each item placed on layaway. The minimum layaway purchase for contract initiation is $15.
- Secure Online Layaway Network– Shoppers can browse items on Kmart.com or Sears.com; have the option of placing most items on layaway through its online process and conveniently picking the items up at a Kmart or Sears store nearest them or a store nearest their friends and family. The online layaway process and easy-to-use website allow users to securely manage their layaway contracts.
Consumers Seek Flexible Payment Options
Online trends(1) show the word "layaway" has doubled in interest among U.S. searchers in September 2011 than in September 2010, illustrating that the payment option is relevant beyond just the holidays. Kmart's layaway program has seen year-over-year growth in layaway customers, doubling the number of layaway contracts since 2008. Customers are empowered by layaway to manage their lives more conveniently.
"Kmart's layaway program is a proven payment option for shoppers seeking a disciplined payment schedule," said Kelly Whalen, mother of four and author of personal finance and lifestyle website TheCentsibleLife.com. "It helps families, like mine, save money by allowing them to plan for big occasions – such as back-to-school and holiday – as well as prepare for smaller events throughout the year such as baby showers and home renovations, without overspending on impulse purchases."
About Sears Holdings Corporation
Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's fourth largest broadline retailer with over 4,000 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada. Sears Holdings is the leading home appliance retailer as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, consumer electronics and automotive repair and maintenance. Sears Holdings is the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. Key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including such well-known labels as Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer, as well as the Apostrophe and Covington brands. It also has the Country Living collection, which is offered by Sears and Kmart. We are the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 11 million service calls made annually. Sears Holdings Corporation operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation. For more information, visit Sears Holdings' website at www.searsholdings.com.
(1) Google Insights, September 2011
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SOURCE Sears Holdings Corporation