Tax-free weekend gets mixed reviews

Published 12:54 am Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Though it was a busy weekend with parents and grandparents flocking to local retailers to purchase the needed pencils and paper and school clothes, local retailers gave this year’s sales tax holiday mixed reviews.

For the past seven years, the state has set aside a weekend in which it suspends its 4 percent sale tax on certain school supplies and clothes. Additionally, most local and county governments agree to suspend theirs as well.

JCPenney manager Dennis Cockrell reported the busiest weekend since Christmas.

“It was really good,” he said. “We had traffic in the store that was great.”

Cockrell said plenty of people as took advantage of the free kids’ haircuts that is ongoing through August.

Cockrell said that any child kindergarten through sixth grade is eligible for a free haircut.

“We’re already 157 percent over the goal that corporate gave us,” he said. “That’s amazing.”

Louisa Baker, owner of Ansley Place, said August started off great for the local clothing and gift shop.

“We did something different this year, and offered discounts two days before the tax-free holiday began,” she said. “We wanted to do something special for our customers, and we felt they might be drawn out of town on the actual tax-free holidays.”

The strategy worked well, she said, reporting four busy days.

“We did have a good weekend,” said Stephanie Skipper of Factory Connection. “But it wasn’t as good as last year.

Maurice’s employees agreed.

“We had a very excellent weekend,” said Angela Jenkins. “Sales were down a little bit from last year. I’m not sure if it’s just how the month hit. Thankfully, we did meet our numbers.”

According to the National Retail Federation, parents of K-12 students will spend $688 this year on back-to-school items.

This year, Covington County, Andalusia City and Opp City report back to school on Aug. 20.