Retailers brace for tax-free weekend

Aug. 02, 2013 @ 01:27 PM

For the last time, shoppers get relief from the sales tax on certain back-to-school items.
Tax-free weekend starts today, lifting the 6.75 percent sales tax on clothing, footwear and school supplies of $100 or less per item; school instructional materials of $300 or less per item; sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item; computers of $3,500 or less per item; and computer supplies of $250 or less per item.
The tax reform bill that signed into law last week in the N.C. General Assembly does away with future tax-free weekends. According to the N.C. Department of Revenue, the state lost about $13 million during last year’s sales tax holiday.
According to the National Retail Federation, total back-to-school and back-to-college spending combined will reach $72.5 billion, down slightly from the historic spending of 2012. A combination of pent-up demand and a growing population of school children put 2012 back-to-school spending in the history books, leaving parents in 2013 with an array of school supplies that still work, and a significantly shorter shopping list.
Gerren Grayer, store team leader at Target at Oak Hollow, said the store got a jump on the holiday.
“Target stores in North Carolina, in the Triad and the Triangle, we set our back-to-school and back-to-college sets early,” Grayer said. “We expect a 25-50 percent increase in sales from what we would do on a three-day weekend in the summer.”
Grayer said Target has several deals on clothes and other back-to-school and back-to-college tax-exempt items.
“We are making sure we have what our guests are looking for,” he said.
Rick Cranford, manager of Omega Sports on Eastchester Drive, said the sports supply store will offer good deals on men’s, women’s and children’s shoes, as well as at least 10 percent off on other items in the store.
“It’s our busiest weekend of the year,” he said. “We’re hoping everybody takes advantage of the last tax-free weekend.”
jhowse@hpe.com | 888-3617