Tax-free shopping ends today

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Retailers on Friday enticed shoppers with deep discounts on top of the state’s 7 percent sales-tax holiday, prompting brisk business for some but small crowds for others.
“It’s been dead,” said Sandra McAdory, manager of Gymboree children’s clothing store inside The Mall at Barnes Crossing. “But we still have Saturday, and I’m hoping it will get better.”
Gymboree offered buy-one-get-one-half-price deals on jeans and 50 percent off other clothing items to get people in the store.
Customers then saved an additional 7 percent off purchases with the state sales-tax exemption.
Most retailers offered similar deals. But McAdory said the strategy hasn’t worked as well this year as it did when the sales-tax holiday first launched.
“The first year was fantastic,” she said. “Last year, we did half as much business. And this year has started really slow.”
This is Mississippi’s fourth annual sales-tax holiday. It applies to most clothing and footwear, including pants, shirts, dresses, belts, coats, undergarments, tennis shoes, cowboy boots and hats.
Not included are backpacks, purses, briefcases, jewelry, hair accessories, sunglasses, fabric, sewing patterns, gloves or umbrellas. Also excluded are any items that, by themselves, cost $100 or more.
Some retailers, though, have opted to offer sales-tax breaks on those and other items as an extra incentive to customers.
While some stores struggled to draw a crowd, the holiday has boosted mall traffic overall, said mall manager Jeff Snyder.
“We’ve seen a steady increase of usually 7-10 percent each tax-free holiday season,” he said. “And a lot of folks when they come out will have lunch or have dinner and buy other things, too.”
As the regional shopping hub, Tupelo draws people from throughout Northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama. Among them on Friday was Carolyn Bynum of Amory and her 10-year-old niece, Dasmine Carter, a rising fifth-grader at East Amory Elementary School.
Dasmine was eyeing a pretty Kavu backpack at Reed’s in the mall. If she could get just one thing during her shopping trip, she said that would be it. But Bynum said they were looking for everything – backpacks, shoes, clothes and anything with Justin Bieber on it.
Reed’s Ladies Department Manager Martha Gunner said they always do well during the sales-tax holiday and called it the kick-off to the fall and winter shopping frenzy.
“It’s certainly a good thing,” Gunner said. “It helps parents get everything they need for their children to go back to school.”
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com

Included
• Clothing like pants, shorts, skirts, dresses and shirts

• Tennis shoes, dress shoes and cowboy boots

• Hats and caps

• Belts, ties and suspenders

• Socks, slips, bras, hosiery and undergarments

• Coats, jackets, scarves and wraps

• Jerseys, scout uniforms and sports clothing

• Costumes, pajamas and robe,

Unless otherwise discounted by individual retailers,
the following items will not get a tax
break:
• Backpacks, briefcases, wallets and purses

• Jewelry, sunglasses, hair accessories, watches

• Any type of sports equipment (cleats, helmets, swim goggles, etc.)

• Fabric, thread, buttons or sewing patterns

• Gloves (except dress gloves) and umbrellas

• Graduation caps and gowns

• Individual items costing more than $100

SOURCE: Mississippi Department of Revenue