Toys R Us waives fee for layaway program ahead of holiday season

Toys R Us is making it easier for shoppers to use its layaway program ahead of the crucial holiday season.

It's waiving its service fee and minimum purchase requirement beginning Tuesday.

Last month, Wal-Mart said it was expanding its own layaway program after seeing high customer demand for layaway. But there is still a minimum purchase requirement and a $15 fee for an open account.

Toys R Us, in contrast, is waiving the upfront service fee for layaway orders created in store from Sept. 4 through Oct. 31. After Oct 31, a $5 service fee will apply.

More emphasis on layaway is the latest effort by brick-and-mortar stores facing increasingly tough competition from online retailers. Retailers will be pulling out all the stops for customers as the intensely competitive holiday season approaches. It can account for as much as 40 percent of annual sales.