OREANDA-NEWS.   In front of 6,000 Walmart associates at Walmart’s annual holiday meeting Wednesday, chief merchandising and marketing officer Duncan Mac Naughton introduced free layaway with no opening fee. Beginning Sept. 13 through Dec. 13, layaway will kick off the retailer’s official start to the holiday season.

“Times are tough and it’s not easy for many Americans – they are watching every penny,” said Mac Naughton. “All year long, but especially during the holidays, our customers need a low price leader. This year, we are committed to doing everything we did last year to help Americans save money – plus more. More savings, more layaway items and our commitment that they can give their families a great Christmas on a budget.”

Walmart’s free layaway means no opening fees, no gift-card reimbursements, just free. Eligible layaway items include electronics, toys, jewelry, small appliances and select sporting goods. And new in 2013 are infant toys and automotive electronics such as speakers and stereos.

Walmart Facebook fans will enjoy a two-day head start this year with access to layaway on Sept. 11 and 12.

Walmart’s layaway will once again help customers purchase the newest electronics from the brands they know and love like Apple, Google, Samsung, Sony and more. A few of the top electronics the retailer expects to be popular layaway gifts include:
Tablets such as the iPad, iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus
Smartphones like the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy 3 (prepaid only)
PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles and new releases
Big screen (60”+) smart TVs

Walmart also expects toys to be popular for layaway, including:
Furby Boom
Barbie Dream House
Big Hugs Elmo
Zoomer, a robotic dog
Bikes and ride-on vehicles
Children’s tablets and learning toys such as LeapFrog

Using layaway at Walmart is simple. Customers can start a layaway account in any Walmart Supercenter or Walmart store (not including Neighborhood Markets) by visiting the Walmart.com Services Desk. Once a layaway account is opened, customers can make payments at any register in that store between Sept. 13 and Dec. 13, 2013. Walmart will also send payment reminders and status updates to customers via email.

In addition, for added convenience in purchasing select large items, including ride-on vehicles, basketball goals and trampolines, Walmart is introducing new “tear pad” slips that customers can bring to the Walmart.com Services Desk – alleviating the need to carry select bulky items to the counter.