Walmart will start accepting holiday items for layaway on Sept. 2, marking the second year in a row that the retailer has gotten a very early start with this program.
Last year's program was popular with shoppers, who took advantage of the longer window. "While we think it's a long time until Christmas, for many customers there's a need and want," said Anne Marie Kehoe, VP of toys at Walmart. Layaway accounts for a good portion of holiday sales at Walmart – as much as 15 percent in some regions, according to Fortune.
Shoppers will have to pay a minimum of $10 to hold items worth at least $50.
Walmart isn't alone in launching early layaway programs. Kmart has promoted early layaway for several years and even launched a no-money-down layaway program this summer, a practice typically reserved for the holiday season.
In addition, Walmart has released its hot toy list for the holidays. The retailer let kids test and play with hundreds of products. The resulting Chosen By Kids list has 25 of their top picks, including six products that are exclusive to Walmart.
Having kids pick the list gives Walmart the advantage of preparing for the season's potential best-sellers, which are often items the buying team would otherwise have overlooked.
"The list is usually our best items," said Kehoe on a conference call with reporters. "The kids pick the list, so there's always a surprise there for us. We as a buying team wouldn't have necessarily have picked those items, we would otherwise have to go chase them."