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Toys R Us extends layaway into December in holiday race

October 18, 2012|By Shan Li
  • Toys R Us is extending its layaway program for the holidays until Dec. 16.
Toys R Us is extending its layaway program for the holidays until Dec. 16. (Tim Boyle / Getty Images )

Toys R Us is extending its free layaway program through Dec. 16 as retailers arm themselves with extra frills and promotions to fight for shoppers this holiday season.

The free service was previously scheduled to end Oct. 31, with customers to be charged $5 to lay items away after that date.

The toy merchant said the change was made after hearing positive feedback from shoppers.

“Since we introduced our new free layaway offer in early September, we’ve seen a fantastic response from parents and gift-givers who value the opportunity to pay for their holiday purchases over time, without having to incur an upfront fee," said Troy Rice, Toys R Us executive vice president of stores and services, in a statement. 

The move is just the latest attempt by Toys R Us to one-up its competitors. The company rolled out this year a reservation program to allow people to nab some popular gifts well before anxious shoppers start rushing to malls. Harried parents can reserve them in stores until Oct. 31, pay a 20% deposit, then pick them up and pay the rest by Dec. 16.

The company has also launched a new video streaming and downloading service at ToysRUsMovies.com to watch family-friendly entertainment online. The service is on demand and charges $2.99 for a 24-hour rental, and $5.99 for a licensed download or stream. TV shows normally cost $1.99.

Other companies are likewise staking ground early in the holiday race.

Best Buy Corp. promised to match prices of online competitors on select items. Target Corp. followed this week by also vowing to match prices from Web rivals Amazon.com Inc. and the online stores of retailers such as Toys R Us, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Best Buy.

Wal-Mart recently extended its layaway program by one month and slashed the fee for opening an account. It has also launched Toyland Tuesdays, when prices on select toys are reduced each week.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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