Wal-Mart brings back layaway for holiday shoppers

NEW YORK (AP) ? Wal-Mart is bringing back something it avoided during the Great Recession: layaway.

The world’s largest retailer, which ditched the pay-as-you-go plan in 2006, is rolling out a holiday layaway option. Wal-Mart follows rivals Sears and Kmart, which brought back during the thick of the recession in 2008.

Wal-Mart’s layaway will kick off Oct. 17 and run through Dec. 16, but the company said it may extend the option throughout the year if the program is successful.

The move comes as Wal-Mart’s mostly low-income shoppers are being squeezed by high unemployment and rising costs. It also comes as the Bentonville, Ark.-based discounter tries to reverse nine straight quarters of declines in sales at its U.S. namesake business by the end of the year.