Investors appear decidedly "unspendy" this holiday season and express little interest in dressed-up layaway plans. Learn more.
Spruced up layaway programs offered by major retailers this holiday season aren’t striking a chord with most investors, who plan to spend the same or less on gifts than they did last year, according to Millionaire Corner research.
Sears Holdings Corp. is the latest company to tweak its layaway program by removing all layaway service fees for both online and in-store shoppers at Sears, though cancellation fees will apply, the company announced last week. The Hoffman Estates, Ill., corporation was formed when Kmart Holding Corp. bought Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 2005.
Kmart announced a similar program last month, according to the company, and both Sears and Kmart will begin offering home delivery to shoppers using the online layaway program starting Nov. 7.
“Our exclusive online layaway ship-to-home delivery service provides a convenient alternative to customers who prefer to make their layaway purchases from the privacy of their own home,”
Jai Holtz, vice president of financial services at Sears Holdings, said in a statement. Other major retailers, including Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart, introduced enhanced layaway programs earlier in the year.
Layaway programs – free or otherwise – are unlikely to attract investors, according to a survey conducted by Millionaire Corner in September. Less than 5 percent of the more than 1,200 participants indicated they have or will use layaway services. Investors with a net worth of less than $100,000, not including primary residence, express slightly more interest, and women appear a little bit more likely than men to use layaway.
Overall, investors’ holiday spending plans appear subdued. The vast majority (71 percent) plans to spend the same as last year, while 15 percent plans to spend less and 14 percent plan to spend more. Those planning to reduce their spending cite less disposable income, a belief the economy is getting worse, concern about their personal financial situation and a lack of savings. Less than 6 percent of investors indicate they are planning a “major purchase” over the holidays, such as jewelry or a television and nine of every 10 appear anxious to avoid debt.