'Biggest ever' back-to-school weekend at mall

TUPELO – Forty-eight hours of tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes brought record-breaking results for several retailers at The Mall at Barnes Crossing over the weekend.
Cindy Childs, the mall’s marketing director, said that traffic was very busy during the Friday-to-Saturday holiday but said it didn’t match the hype that it would surpass after-Thanksgiving numbers.
However, she said that the volume of business generated at some stores smashed any previous records.
“We had stores with their biggest volume ever,” Childs said. “Friday was the busiest of the two days.”
The Mississippi Legislature earlier this year passed a bill that eliminated the sales tax on clothing and shoes that were priced less than $100. The break was penciled in for Friday and Saturday, the weekend before similar tax holidays in neighboring states.
The stores that fared particularly well were clothing and shoe stores that had the product – and the prices – for shoppers to take advantage.
Childs said that one retailer reported that its Saturday take was 650 percent higher than the same day a year earlier.
“We can’t wait til next year,” Childs said.
Overall, the impact hasn’t been determined because final numbers aren’t in.
But the mall’s general manager, Jeff Snyder, said the tax holiday represented the biggest back-to-school weekend the mall had ever experienced.
Next year, cities can opt out of the holiday if they think the holiday had a detrimental impact on revenue.
But some legislators already are thinking about adding back-to-school items, including backpacks, to the tax-exempt list.
Childs thinks it’s a good idea, even though this year’s results might not be topped.
“Some stores who have participated in tax holidays in other states said that the first time is always the biggest,” she said. “But who knows what would happen if they expand the list?”
Contact Dennis Seid at (662) 678-1578 or dennis.seidd@djournal.com.

Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal