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Consumers happy to skip taxes

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

Texas’ back-to-school incentive ends Sunday

From Hello Kitty to Spider-Man, backpacks were a must on most everyone’s shopping list during the tax-free holiday shopping weekend.

The state’s sales tax holiday began Friday and continues through Sunday, saving shoppers about $8 for every $100 spent on qualifying merchandise. This weekend, consumers don’t have to pay state or local sales tax on most clothing, footwear and school supplies costing less than $100 per item, according to the state comptroller.

Any little bit of savings helps when sending more than one child off to school, Christian Looney said while shopping Saturday with his wife and three children in the Walmart at Rayzor Ranch Marketplace.

“It’s more convenient to buy all the clothes and supplies needed when everything is on sale. I’m sending two to school this year,” said Looney, who lives in Haslet.

While the exact weekend for the tax-free incentive varies from year to year, Texas’ sales tax holiday has been an annual event since 1999.

Jeff Engle, a store manager at Super Target off Loop 288 for eight years, said store sales are running about the same as last year’s tax-free weekend. He said Saturday that things were running smoothly and his customers hadn’t had to fight traffic much throughout the store.

“In previous years, the tax-free weekend ran the same weekend as dorm openings, and in a college town like we are in, that can get just as crazy as a Black Friday sale at times,” he said.

Extended hours and big markdowns are just some of the ways retailers are luring consumers.

Laurie Smith, who was carrying a handful of new clothes for her two sons at J.C. Penney, said she usually doesn’t shop during the tax-free holiday, but the large discounts, combined with coupons sent out this week, were a deal-maker for her.

“We are here right now shopping for a new pair of DC shoes — my son is really into those still,” she said. “Not having to pay tax on top of the coupons and sales is an added bonus.”

Craig Dorzinski, store manager of J.C. Penney at Golden Triangle Mall, said the company didn’t have any extra sales specifically for Texas’ tax holiday.

“Our national marketing campaign goes out to all our locations, and the states that offer no sales tax just add a disclaimer on the front of the ads,” he said. “These sales right now are good in any of our stores.”

Dorzinski said he thought this year’s sales would exceed those of last year.

In addition to sales, hiring additional help to work the holiday and beyond is just another boost to the local economy, he said.

Engle and Dorzinski each said their stores have added part-time employees to work the back-to-school shopping season.

“Our season runs from August through the first week of September,” Engle said.

Shoppers are expected to save an estimated $78.9 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday, state officials said.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.