By NEMS Daily Journal
Back-to-school shopping will begin later this month, and area retailers are hoping they’ll get an extra boost. Under a new state law, on July 31 and Aug. 1, shoppers will be exempt from the 7 percent state sales on purchases of clothes and shoes under $100.
Not included are accessories, including jewelry, handbags, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches, backpacks, briefcases, garment bags; rentals of clothing or footwear; and skis, swim fins, roller blades, skates and “similar items worn on the foot.”
The Daily Journal spoke to Jeff Snyder, general manager of The Mall at Barnes Crossing in Tupelo, about the potential impact of the tax-free holiday on BTS shopping.
Q: What do you think the impact will be?
A:I think it’s a fantastic idea and the right time to do it. I think it’s going to be a big boon for the area because Alabama and Tennessee has had the tax-free holidays. We’ve had customers in the past call us to ask if we had one and we didn’t. Now, maybe we can get some of those customers to shop here, plus keep our own people shopping here instead of going elsewhere.
For the mall merchants, for all retailers in Tupelo and Lee County, it’s going to get people to shop here.
Sure, you might miss out on the taxes on the shoes and clothes, but that will allow shoppers to buy other things. They’ll be here buying gas and food, for example. And what they’re saving they can use to buy other school supplies.
Q:So you’re expecting this to be big?
A:Back-to-school season is our second-biggest shopping season, behind only Christmas.
We’re looking at extending mall hours for those two days, although we haven’t officially announced them yet. And some stores I know are beefing up their staffs those days.
Q:Any advice to shoppers?
A:Yeah – come early and come often. It’s going to be like the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. All the best deals will be available to those who buy the earliest.