Tax-free shopping

Published 12:03 am Saturday, August 3, 2013

Customers take advantage of sales, savings

If the parking lots of area retailers Friday were any indication of turnout at this year’s annual sales tax holiday, then the numbers will be good.

By 10:30 a.m., the lots of J.C. Penney’s, Goody’s and Wal-Mart, as well as those at the Shoe Department, Factory Connection, Cato’s and Burke’s outlet were filled. Throughout the day, sales representatives said customers were shopping sales and filling shopping carts to take advantage of discounts.

Sisters Haley and Lori Drakeford drove from Greenville to Andalusia to shop.

“We’re looking for anything cute,” Haley said.

Florala resident Fontella Thompson and her two children – ninth grader Jonathan Barnes and seventh grader Porchea Williams – were spotted at the J.C. Penney’s sales counter.

“We’re shopping today, and only in Andalusia,” she said. “Gotta hit those sales.”

From 12:01 Friday midnight Sunday, the state’s 4 percent sales tax, as well as the cities’ and county’s sales tax, will be removed on a list of approved back-to-school items, including clothing, books, school supplies and computer gear.

Over the years, retailers have learned to capitalize on the holiday, offering their own deals in conjunction with the sales tax discounts, so shoppers realize even greater savings, said Nancy Dennis, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Retail Association.

“We do still consider it a boost for retailers,” she said. “It gives customers a reason to shop.”

Supporters also say it generates extra purchases that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.