Downtown starts early; others follow later in week

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Eight downtown Tupelo retailers are kicking off the state’s sales tax holiday early.
Some of the retailers started Monday, and the rest start today, since they usually close Monday. The tax-free holiday downtown ends at the close of business Saturday.
Yellow Lovebirds was open Monday, and sales rep Leslie George said she had a couple of moms shopping with their high school-aged children.
Blouses and tank tops were hot items Monday.
“No jeans yet,” she said.
A few stores down at The Main Attraction, Anna-Claire Prather and her grandmother, Cheryl Wheeler, were looking around for items for the rising junior at Saltillo High School. She’d already bought a pair of shoes at Reed’s and gotten several tops.
“I have enough jeans,” she said.
Shelia Howard-Baker and Wanda Nelms also were having some bonding time. The two friends from Oxford had lunch and were browsing at shops. They didn’t know the downtown merchants were having the tax holiday and they weren’t swayed by the promotion.
They were looking for bigger sales.
Lucky for them, stores are rolling out deep discounts.
“The 7 percent off isn’t that big of a deal, but when you put it with a 40 percent-off or a 30 percent-off, it becomes much more attractive,” said Jeff Snyder, general manager at The Mall at Barnes Crossing. “The story remains the same – bigger and bigger incentives every year.”
The state’s tax holiday starts at midnight Thursday and ends at midnight Saturday.
Mall merchants Aeropostale and Finish Line open at midnight Thursday. Buckle opens at 6 a.m. Friday.
Snyder said he expects a huge turnout at the mall, as do other retailers around town.
It could be a great year for retailers, with back-to-school spending expected to increase 14 percent, according to the National Retail Federation.
Parents are expected to shell out $688.62 on items for their kids, for a total of $83.8 billion for the season.
That movement of dollars is second behind only the Christmas selling season.
And Corner Shoe Store owner Tommy Lee said he has no complaints.
“Back-to-school gets bigger every year,” he said. “This year, people have been here shopping during the week, they’re here on Saturdays. … the tax-free holiday is getting bigger and better.”
Dennis Seid contributed to this story.
carlie.kollath@journalinc.com