Tax Holiday: Retailers Hope for Big Weekend Sales
Moore County shoppers are expected to cash in on savings during this weekend's sales tax holiday.
Tax exemptions on certain items go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday and will last through 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Sales and use taxes do not apply to clothing costing $100 or less per item, sports or recreational equipment costing $50 or less per item, computers costing $3,500 or less per item, computer supplies costing $250 or less per item, school supplies costing $100 or less per item, and school instructional materials costing $300 or less per item.
The holiday offers a break from the 6.75 percent sales tax rate in advance of the beginning of the school year. While the savings don't appear to be huge, in today's economy every little bit helps.
"We've been on the radio and in the newspaper promoting shopping locally," said Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce. "This is a wonderful opportunity this weekend to put our money where our mouths are. We've been encouraging everybody to make the most of this weekend."
Coughlin said that supporting Moore County's small businesses could help turn around the local economy faster.
Local retailers are ramping up for the weekend, and are hopeful that the savings will encourage shoppers to buy.
Elizabeth Minor, manager of Peebles department store in Aberdeen, said tax-free weekend is always "huge" for her store. Last year produced big crowds, and she has brought in some extra staff to help out.
"We're hoping for a really big weekend," she said.
Minor said she thinks that concerns about the economy will keep residents in town to shop locally, which means this year could be even bigger. The store has put merchandise on sale to attract even more customers.
Alaja Van Dyke, manager of Staples off U.S. 15-501, said her store is ready for a big weekend. Staples is the world's largest office supply chain, and also sells electronics.
"My greatest expectation is that [shoppers] are really ready to purchase at this point," she said. "I'm really, really hopeful they come out with confidence and purchase."
Van Dyke said the economic downturn last summer caught everyone off guard and shook consumer confidence.
Her store was down to 18 sales associates, but it has adjusted and is back up to 33 in time for the weekend. It will be operating under normal business hours.
The Sandhills Community College bookstore is also expecting big numbers. The store is usually closed on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer, but will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
"We always try to be open [on tax-free weekend]," said Jessica Russell, the store manager. "That way people can take advantage of getting supplies. It helps out our students who are paying for things out of pocket quite a bit. Saving that extra 6.75 percent can be very substantial."
Usually, the bookstore attracts between 100 and 300 patrons each day during the holiday. Because enrollment at the college is up significantly this year, Russell anticipates even more traffic and has beefed up staff to accommodate the additional customers.
"I do believe there is potential for a greater traffic flow," she said.
Russell added that shopping at the bookstore is a good way to "shop local," as the store benefits the college.
North Carolina is one of several states with a sales tax holiday, including neighboring Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
According to the N.C. Department of Revenue, participation in the tax holiday is mandatory for retailers. Clothing accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, protective equipment, wallets, furniture, items used in a trade or business, and rentals are not covered by the sales-tax exemption.
For a complete listing of this weekend's tax-exempt items, visit thepilot.com.
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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