Merchants gear up for tax holidayPublished 11:48pm Monday, July 29, 2013
Local merchants are readying the aisles and stocking the shelves in anticipation of this weekend’s annual sales tax holiday.
Second only to the winter holiday shopping season, the back-to-school buying season is expected to boost sales in Alabama by being the one weekend shoppers are certain to fill stores thanks to the fact that majority of their purchases can be made tax free.
All area municipalities – Andalusia, Opp and Florala – as well as the county, are participating in the event, which begins from 12:01 a.m. Friday through midnight Sunday. During that time, the state’s 4 percent sales tax is waived throughout the state while sales taxes levied by 274 cities and counties also will be waived on:
• clothing priced at $100 or less;
• school supplies valued at $50 or less;
• books that cost $30 or less; and
• computers and computer equipment with a selling price of $750 or less.
“Consumer spending will increase in August, and Alabama’s sales tax holiday will give back-to-school shopping in our state the jump start it needs,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown. The National Retail Federation estimates that total spending on back-to-school will reach $72.5 billion this year. Alabama sales generally represent 1.5 percent of all retail sales nationally. If the national prediction is accurate, $1.08 billion will be spent to equip and outfit students in our state this year. The Alabama Retail Association predicts taxed sales in August will grow about 1 percent over 2012 August sales, which means consumers will spend about $4.16 billion in Alabama next month. That is all sales, all month, not just on back-to-school.
“Alabama’s sales tax holiday means savings for more than just back-to-school shoppers,” Brown said. “Those interested in filling out their wardrobes and stocking their libraries and home offices also can benefit from buying during the tax-free weekend. Such electronics as computers, laptops, e-readers and tablets valued at $750 or less along with computer software commonly used by students, flash drives, blank compact discs and printers are tax free during the sales tax holiday.
“While the holiday is aimed at the back-to-school shopper, it is open to everyone,” he said.
Locally, retail sales staff is busy stocking, organizing and pricing new merchandise.
At Fred’s, the sales floor was filled with boxes of yet-to-be opened merchandise, while cashiers moved and set up displays.
J.C. Penney manager Dennis Cockrell paused only for a moment Monday to say, “It’s going to be a great weekend to shop.”