By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – Back-to-school and back-to-college spending this year is expected to ring up nearly $75 billion in sales, even as shoppers look for deals and take advantage of sales tax holidays.
Back-to-school spending trails only the Christmas holiday as far as overall spending goes.
Mississippi’s fifth annual sales tax break – mostly for clothes and shoes costing $100 or less – began Friday and ends at midnight tonight.
Some stores opened earlier on Friday and stayed opened later. They’ll do so again today.
Among the back-to-school shoppers on Friday was Daniele Perkins, who was looking for shoes for a second-grader and fifth-grader.
“They’ve both grown some over the summer, especially my fifth-grader, and we go through shoes pretty fast,” she said. “So getting a break here or there helps.
After stopping at a couple of shoe stores at The Mall at Barnes Crossing, they found what they were looking for as far as shoes were concerned. The next challenge was buying clothes.
“We’ll be here awhile, I’m sure,” Perkins said.
Across town at Shoe Country, Annaleise Carroll was looking for the right fit for a pair of Chaco sandals.
A 30 percent off offer on top of the sales tax break on the shoes appealed to her mother, Stacy.
Those additional discounts make the tax-free shopping weekend appealing to everybody, said Mall at Barnes Crossing Marketing Director Cindy Childs.
“We’ve got people who are leaving with shopping bags in their hands – they’re out here buying and taking advantage of those savings,” she said.
Retailers across the city are bracing for what promises to be a hectic shopping day today, and Childs said she expects business to be brisk even after the sales tax holiday.
She said the weekends leading up to this weekend have been busy, and expects the next couple of weeks will stay that way as teachers and students return to school.
“We’re getting shoes and clothes today, then we’re getting school supplies off the lists,” Perkins said. “I’m sure they’ll get back to school and they’ll have more stuff they’ll have to get. It always happens.”