By Adam Ganucheau
Retail businesses in Northeast Mississippi are preparing for one of their busiest weekends of the year.
The state’s annual sales tax-free weekend is Friday and Saturday for all clothing and footwear under $100, and area retailers are preparing for heavy crowds.
It’s the fifth year of the program.
“I feel like this will be a very successful weekend for us, and we are definitely making extra preparations for the weekend,” said John Gorman, the store leader at the JC Penney at The Mall at Barnes Crossing. “Last year, the Saturday of sales tax weekend was our second-busiest sales day, just behind Black Friday.”
With the sales tax-free weekend designed to coincide with back-to-school shopping, locally owned stores like Shoe Country in Tupelo benefit greatly.
“Tax-free weekend is always such a big weekend for us,” Shoe Country General Manager Corey Chunn said. “A lot of people wait for this weekend for their back-to-school shopping to get great deals on big-name brands.”
Both JC Penney and Shoe Country have made extra preparations in anticipation of the weekend. JC Penney mailed out additional discount coupons for customers to bring in, store hours have been extended and the store even hired 10 additional employees.
Shoe Country ordered more items than usual to sell this weekend, marked down prices on most items in the store and bought a large tent to be set up outside the store.
Some parents and grandparents of school children plan on taking advantage of the lower prices for their children’s back-to-school clothing.
“I think that the weekend gets a lot of people out and about to shop for back-to-school clothing,” Betty Sims of Columbus said. “I definitely plan on buying my grandson clothes this weekend.”
Others try to avoid the crowds of the popular weekend.
“Personally, I would rather get my son clothes when I don’t have to worry about a thousand people in the stores with me,” said Tracy Harmon of Corinth. “To me, the $7 off every $100 isn’t worth dealing with the crowds.”
Like many other area stores and shopping centers, The Mall at Barnes Crossing is extending its hours for the tax-free days.
“It’s a huge day for the mall,” mall General Manager Jeff Snyder said. “This weekend is something that causes a lot of excitement here because there are so many back-to-school brands here in one place that parents and kids want to buy.”