How Target Stole Christmas

target stole christmas


If you haven’t heard Target are not going to be offering 6 months layby for Christmas during their annual midyear toy sale event.

It’s outrageous. How dare Target make a decision about how they run their business. Who do they think they are? Some kind of retail store that exists to make a profit?!?! The nerve!

Parents have taken to the Target Facebook page to express their anger about the decision. (I started to screen shot some to use as examples, but there are just too many. They just keep going on and on.)

While this doesn’t affect me at all, because I usually do my Christmas shopping on the 23rd of December – I can empathise that people are a bit miffed if this is how they’ve done their Christmas shopping every year. Change sucks. I adapt to change as well as a toddler adapts to missing a nap -there’s usually some crying, foot stomping and shouting “NO!” involved (Just ask my partner what happens every time I get a new phone.)

So, why has Target done this to Australian families? A spokesperson for Target has said:

“We have made the decision at Target to no longer offer our six month lay-by, following customer feedback and a change in sales trends. Parents told us that buying toys six months in advance was becoming difficult as kids were changing their minds on what toys they wanted due to promotional new releases and trends. Our lay-by returns figures showed the same story.”

Actually, that seems completely reasonable to me.

If I bought a trolley load of toys for my kids today it would be full of Star Wars, Minecraft and Doc Mcstuffins. In 6 months from now odds are I’d be swapping it for *whatever other crap my kids are into in 6 months time*. (Except for Star Wars, because Star Wars never goes out of fashion)

Then when I’d swap my layby items for newer, more current toys, Target would be stuck with the toys that were popular 6 months ago and may not be as relevant now. On top of that it’s reasonable to assume that storing those bulky items that parents don’t want to keep at home because they lack the space, or they don’t want their kids to find them before the big day costs Target money. Those toys are taking room in a warehouse somewhere that Target is paying for. 

While having 6 months to pay off your Christmas toys might be really helpful, Target is not responsible for how parents manage their budget – nor is it their job to hide your kids toys. 

There are other ways to have a fabulous Christmas without needing an extended Target layby. If you have trouble saving there are several banks that offer “Christmas Club” accounts. You can make deposits all year round, but you can only make withdrawals during the Christmas period (usually November through to January). Which is perfect if your someone who’s “needs” seem correlate exactly with how much money you have in the bank.

There’s really no need to panic – this is not a last minute change. Parents still have a whole 6 months to save up for Christmas presents! And they can still use 8 weeks layby towards the end of the year if they really need somewhere to store the gifts before they put them under the tree.

So, Christmas is not ruined. Everything will be okay. You will still be able to buy presents for your kids this year. You’ll just have to make other plans. That’s all.

And if it turns out that Target were wrong, and that cancelling the 6 month layby wasn’t in the best interest of their business, then they’ll bring it back next year and you’ll only have missed out on extended Christmas layby for one year.

If not, then they made the right decision.

What do you think? Has this inconvenienced your family this year?

Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. Rachel is obsessed prams, car seats, carriers and all things baby. She has worked in the baby industry for several years, for both suppliers and also in a retail setting and has developed a passion for connecting parents with the right products to make their lives easier. When Rachel isn't playing with prams she's enjoys crocheting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.


  1. And so are NO offering 6 months layby??????? Doesn’t anyone PROOF read these things before posting?? I assume what they really mean is they are NOW offering 6 months layby?????? Nice one Target!!!!!!!

  2. Oh PHEW, cos I have sooooo started planning my Christmas shopping already…..ahhh well, wish I was one of the organised people. 23rd December sounds perfectly fine to me. I may just surprise myself. Thanks for the update.

  3. I never to the lay by, and completely agree that toys they like now they probably won’t still like (as much) by xmas time. My little man will be turning 1 on the 30th of dec, so will have to try not to be too overloaded with ALL THE THINGS!

  4. You’ve nailed it, I think (I’ve never understood buying that far out – I don’t have enough room to store things, for one thing, and also have the problem you’ve mention of the kids moving on). And Target then does end up with a lot of unwanted toys – no wonder they’re not doing so well. Christmas saving accounts in the other hand could be a great idea (hopefully people take up the opportunities that exist).

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