In its latest attempt to win over customers during the crucial holiday season, Toys"R"Us announced today that it will extend its free layaway plan until Dec. 16. The toy company has offered free layaway since early September, the first retailer of the season to do so. But it had planned to resume its $5 service fee after Oct. 31.
Other retailers also have also upped the ante recently with their layaway and other programs. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reduced its upfront fee from $15 to $5. It also offers to match the lower prices advertised by local competitors. Kmart has waived layaway fees for shoppers. Target (NYSE: TGT) does not offer a layaway program but also matches printed advertisements for prices at competitors' stores, but recently said it would match certain online retailers' prices as well. Those include Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Walmart.com and Toysrus.com.
Toys"R"Us also announced that it will donate $200 worth of toys to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation every time a "generous benefactor" pays off the layaway balance of someone in their local communities this year, up to $1 million worth of toys.