Holiday layaways, toy exclusives, 1,000 grocery pickup locations part of busy Wal-Mart week

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 306 views 

Bentonville-based retail giant Wal-Mart Stores has brought back its holiday layaway program, opened its 1,000th store for online grocery pickup and unveiled several toy exclusives among this year’s child-tested toy list.

This past weekend Wal-Mart began offering customers the option of layaway. The retailer said it offers thousands of items for holiday layaway. Large screen televisions were brought to the front of many supercenters this past weekend under the large overhead layaway sign.

There is no opening fee and customers are required to put down 10% of the price or $10 whichever is greater. The minimum layaway basket has a value of $50. Wal-Mart said customers have until Dec. 11 to pay off their account and collect their purchases.

Wal-Mart executives have said customers have in the past used layaway to help budget their holiday gift purchases over three months and they expect much the same this year.

TOY EXCLUSIVES
Also this week Wal-Mart rolled out its list of 25 top-rated toys by kids. The retailer said toys that inspire creativity ranked well with kids as well as collectibles. Top of the list was last year’s popular Hatchimals. The toys will be available at Wal-Mart on Oct. 6.

The retail giant also scores several exclusive active toys this year including Frozen Sleigh, Adventure Force Light Command Light-up Motorized Blaster, Monster Jam Grave Digger, Tech Pop-a-balls Drop and Pop Ball Pit, and the Radio Control Dashcam.

“We are gearing up for the season by starting with what matters most to kids – toys,” said Anne Marie Kehoe, vice president of toys at Walmart U.S. “With a little over three months until Christmas, we want to help parents get ahead of the holiday hunt for the hottest toys and find the best deals. We narrowed down hundreds of toys to the top 25 we know kids will love but this is just the start. We never stop looking for the hottest toys.”

She said between Walmart U.S. stores and Walmart.com, the retailer will offer more than 1,000 new toys, including more than 300 exclusives at prices customers are looking for.

“Top toys are evolving every day, and we’re continuing to find those great, new items and bringing them with speed to our customers,” said Kehoe.

Wal-Mart said licensed toys are also expected to be hot sellers again this year. Children liked the Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower, Disney/Pixar Cars 3 Ultimate Florida Speedway, and the Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Baby All in One Nursery.

1,000 PICKUP POINTS
Wal-Mart Stores continues to invest in its online grocery pickup model and plans to open five more locations in Amazon’s backyard of Seattle on Thursday. The five new locations will help the retailer reach a milestone of 1,000 pickup points across the U.S.

“Customers from Atlanta to Albuquerque and Nashville to New York have told us what an ally Online Grocery Pickup is in their fight to save something so important – time,” said Mike Turner, vice president of eCommerce Operations for Walmart U.S. “Our daily mission is to help our customers keep a little more money in their pockets and add more time in their schedules. Online Grocery is doing that for the millions of customers who have tried the service, so we won’t stop with store 1,000.”

To celebrate the milestone, Wal-Mart will give away sweet treats and $5 promotion codes that can be used with a future online grocery pickup order to customers using the service around the country. In Seattle, Wal-Mart is giving away Google Home devices to the first 250 online grocery customers in that market. This is seen as another jab at Amazon given Google Home and Wal-Mart are partnering in voice activated ordering on Walmart.com, which is seen as a direct threat to Amazon Echo.

Wal-Mart said it makes available more than 40,000 items in its online grocery pickup which include fresh produce and meat, pantry staples, seasonal and health and beauty products. The retailer has opened more than 400 new pickup locations this year and never charges a customer for this convenience service.

The retailer said 89% of customers using the service say it saves them time. Nearly half of the items bought from Walmart online grocery are from fresh departments, such as produce, meat and seafood, bakery and dairy.

Wal-Mart also said all fresh items are backed by Walmart’s Fresh Guaranteed and if customers aren’t satisfied with their purchase, they can return the product with the receipt for a refund.

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