Wal-Mart Brings Back Free Layaway for Holidays

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is bringing back free layaway this holiday season. 

The Bentonville retailer announced Wednesday on its website that it would offer free layaway beginning Sept. 13 and running through Dec. 13. Previously, a fee of $5 has been charged to open a layaway account. Also, it will bring back a cancellation fee of $10 that it cut last year.

Facebook fans of Wal-Mart stores will have access to layaway items two days early on Sept. 11, and 35,500 layaway items -- about 1,000 more than last year -- are being made available in 2013, Wal-Mart said. Its most popular layaway items include toys and electronics such as tablets, smartphones, big screen TVs and video games, the company said.

Other eligible layaway items include jewelry, small appliances and sporting goods, and new in 2013, infant toys and automotive electronics such as speakers and stereos. In 2006, Wal-Mart announced plans to end its layaway program, citing falling demand, only to bring it back in 2011. 

No Black Friday plans were announced for 2013. Last year, Wal-Mart opened its stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day in anticipation of Black Friday.

Earlier this month, the company slashed its annual profit and revenue outlook for the year, citing a weak global economy that was impacting its low-income shoppers.