Tax holiday is on!

Published 12:02 am Friday, August 5, 2011

Shoe Department manager Chris Jarrell waits on Opp seventh grader Brent Rogers who is attending his first day of school today.

Local retailers are gearing up for the annual sales tax holiday, which begins today.

The tax-free weekend, in its sixth year, started at 12:01 a.m. today, Fri., Aug. 5, and continues until midnight Sunday. Local and state governments have agreed to waive sales tax from selected items during this time.

Parents will spend an average of $604 on supplies for K-12 students this year, according to a report by the National Retail Federation.

And while many customers have already bought inexpensive school supplies, such as pencils, crayons and paper, some have been waiting until this weekend to save money on pricier items, such as computers, clothing and backpacks.

The majority of clothing items $100 or less are exempt from sales tax. Computers and computer supplies are also exempt if costing no more than $750. School supplies, such as notebooks, pens and paper, are also exempt as long as the individual price is $50 or less.

Local retailers like JCPenney, Goody’s, Burke’s and Factory Connection, will offer special sales and extended hours for the tax-free weekend. Retailers recommend back-to-school shoppers arrive early, make a list of wanted items and pay attention to discounts.

JCPenney store manager Dennis Cockrell said today the store will stay open an hour longer, closing at 9 p.m., and have additional staff on hand to handle the influx of customers.

“Traffic has already picked up in the store,” Cockrell said Thursday. “But as for the overall weekend, I expect us to double our sales in what we normally sell in a weekend.”

Stephanie Stone, assistant manager at Maurice’s, said the store is preparing for the expected large crowds.

“We hope our sales, like our big clearance and jeans and jewelry, will draw the customer in,” Stone said.

Shoe Department store manager Chris Jarrell said he expects to see an increase in sales over the weekend.

“We’ve got a big sale going, as well as door buster specials,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we do 20 percent or more in sales.”