In The New York Times Magazine: The Layaway

Posted by Rob Walker on November 29, 2008
Posted Under: Consumed,Retail

A new installment, for an old form of payment.

This week in Consumed, the layaway plan at KMart and Sears:

Kmart has struggled for years to change its image as the has-been retailer competing with more up-to-date rivals like Wal-Mart and Target, so hyping such a musty, old-school service seems risky, to say the least. But times have changed, Aiello says. “When we talked to customers, they gave us a lot of credit,” he says. “They didn’t see it as tired or a throwback. They saw it as a really great solution.” And not just fixed-budget consumers, he asserts, but also “more affluent people who see it as a risk-free way to get something while it’s in stock, at the price they want to pay.” At Sears, he adds, layaway’s comeback was a direct result of consumers simply asking for it.

Red the column in the November 30, 2008, issue of The New York Times Magazine, or here.

Consumed archive is here, and FAQ is here. Consumed Facebook page is here.

“Letters should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, Magazine, The New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10018. The e-mail address is All letters should include the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number. We are unable to acknowledge or return unpublished letters. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.”

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Comments are closed.