Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wal-Mart Revives Layaway

What was old is new again! This is a timeless statement and appears to be the new Wal-Mart motto. In a society where everything seems to be recyclable, Wal-Mart is reviving the “layaway” shopping experience. This new yet old promotion is an attempt by the giant retailer to regain a foothold in the low income markets. Just recently, it was reported that Walmart’s share of the U.S. consumer market had dropped for the first time in over a decade. The retailer had seen a steady increase in its share of the market annually for the last ten years. However, in recent years, its main customer base has been hit hard by high unemployment and rising costs. It has also faced fierce competition from other retailers targeting the same consumers. Wal-Mart had offered the layaway option in previous years, but during the boom economic years with easily available credit, it discontinued the service citing high costs and lack of consumer interest. However, when other competitors began offering/and or expanding the service, Wal-Mart was forced to start up again in order to stay competitive. The program is available with quite a number of restrictions and is limited to certain minimum purchase and product requirements. It may be expanded to include all non-perishable items such as clothing, etc. if the demand grows. It will be interesting to see if this return to a method of purchasing made popular in the Great Depression will enable Wal-Mart to regain its status as the “King” of the low-cost, high volume retailers. Wal-Mart is not accustomed to being in a “catch-up” position and had become used to being the leader of the pack.

2 comments:

Upper School Government and Economics said...

I think that it is great that other buisnesses can challange such a huge company as walmart to change its buisness tactics. Seeing as walmart is the cause of numerous smaller buisnesses being closed because of their unability to compete with such base prices. This is a perfect example of how even though walmart is seen as a giant buisness mogul of grocery shopping, they still have to compete with the every day customers wants. For instance, if walmart didnt reinstate this Lay-Away program, they could lose tons of revenue to a competetor (even if their prices are higher). All in all customers need to start realizing the true power they control over these companies, if they dislike they way a company does buisness, then dont do buisness with them.

Ellis C.

jay paul said...

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