From pencils to puppies, layaway is back and online

Mercedes Cardona

As the back to school shopping season winds down amid Labor Day sales, a classic trend has found new life. Layaway, which many parents who are tight on cash have used to buy school supplies, is emerging as a major force in the holiday shopping season.

"There's definitely an uptick," said Heather Dougherty, Director of Research at Hitwise, a New York-based market research company. Hitwise's tallies show searches of the term "layaway" and its variations are up in August over the same time last year.