BENTONVILLE, Ark. --
Shoppers with a long list of holiday gifts might want to start saving now because Wal-Mart intends to phase out its layaway department before Christmas, officials said Wednesday.
Staff at Wal-Mart's home office in Bentonville told 40/29 that new stores have opened without layaway departments. However, they said they would prefer to inform their associates about those changes first.
"Is the layaway department closing? It is. When's that going to happen? Well, the last day to put on a regular layaway is this Friday, and they have to be out by Nov. 19. If you have Christmas gifts, you can pick those up on Dec. 8," said a Wal-Mart employee.
An employee at another store told 40/29 that she had heard about the department closing but only knew it to be a rumor.
"It's just a loss to the store. None of our competitors have it. They just don't want it anymore; that's the rumor," she said.
However, Wal-Mart's competitors, such as Kmart, do have layaway.
"Like today, I spent over $200 at Kmart on layaway," said Nob Hill resident Angela Lyle.
"For my nephews' birthdays, I put (a little more than) $160 dollars worth of stuff (on layaway)," she said. "If Wal-Mart (doesn't) have it, I'll probably do more business with Kmart."
Staff at the home office said Wal-Mart should be releasing some sort of statement on Thursday regarding the future of its layaway department.