- Wal-Mart launches its holiday layaway program Friday, in preparation for the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens merchandise that hits stores Sept. 4.
- A Wal-Mart spokesperson says that its new Toy Week, tied to Star Wars merchandise, could easily be the biggest week of 2015 for toy sales outside the holiday season.
- Wal-Mart also lowered its layaway minimum to $10 from last year’s $15, and expanded its payment window to 90 days from 60 days.
Wal-Mart will open layaway shopping two weeks earlier this year to accommodate shoppers looking to buy the year’s hottest toys—those connected to the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The retailer has announced a new “Toy Week” event to offer a sneak peek at the holiday season's hottest toys as well as a “Force Friday” event unveiling limited-edition Star Wars merchandise.
Wal-Mart is not alone in pinning its hopes on the latest installment of the venerable sci-fi franchise. Target and Toys 'R' Us stores nationwide will also stage Force Friday events on Sept. 4 upon the release of new toys, apparel, and collectibles. In addition, Wal-Mart will stage a Light Saber Academy and costume contest at its New York City flagship store next week.
Toys are a popular choice for Wal-Mart’s layaway program, which will offer lower ticket minimums and expand its payment window this year. NPD Group says that licensed items could make 2015 the best year for toy sales in more than a decade, projecting 6.2% year-over-year growth.