Kmart joins trend of cutting layaway fees

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — The trend of doing away with layaway fees continues, this time with Kmart announcing that it has removed its layaway service fee both in stores and online through Nov. 17.

The retailer follows suit with Toys"R"Us, which said it would drop the $5 upfront service fee and eliminate the minimum purchase requirement for all orders created in stores through Oct. 31 and Walmart, which, while not cutting back its layaway fee, has rolled it back to $5 from $15.

Kmart, which offers the program year round, said the decision to make the program free "emphasizes the company's commitment to delivering value and convenience to customers, acknowledging family budgets are strained during the holiday."

"At Kmart, we understand the excitement holidays bring, and the budget concerns that come with them," Sears Holdings VP financial services Jai Holtz said. "By providing free layaway we want to help make holiday shopping less stressful."