October 4, 2012, 12:37 PM

Sears and Kmart cut fees and add a layaway delivery option

Layaway is available online throughout the holiday shopping season.

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Sears is making layaway more convenient for web and store shoppers this holiday season.

Sears Holdings Corp. is making layaway more convenient for web and store shoppers this holiday season. Consumers who shop online or in the company’s Sears or Kmart stores will be able to put products on layaway and make their biweekly payments either online or in store. Consumers can then have their layaway items shipped to their homes for a fee rather than pick them up at a store.

Kmart first offered a layaway program for online shoppers that let shoppers pick and pay for layaway items online during the 2009 holiday shopping season, but consumers had to visit a store to pick up the products. Products placed on layaway online at Sears.com or Kmart.com this year are not eligible for any free shipping programs and shipping starts at $5.95, the company says.

Layaway service fees, which for Sears and Kmart range from $5 for an 8-week payment plan to $10 for a 12-week payment plan, are also being waived as the holiday shopping season begins. Cancellation fees, which range from $10 to $20, still apply.

Cancellation and service fees are the two most-cited drawbacks to using layaway programs, according a survey fielded in September by coupon and deal site CouponCabin.com. 43% of U.S. adults cite cancellation fees as a drawback to using layaway during the holidays, and 41% say service fees end up making layaway not worthwhile. 9% of survey participants say they are very likely to use layaway for holiday purchases this year.

Sears Holdings Corp. is No. 8 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

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