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Tax holiday brings out few locals to shop

July 31, 2014

BY JOSH PRESLEY
news@dailytimesleader.com

Mississippi’s tax-free weekend for clothing and shoes has come and gone, and the feeling from some local retailers is that the weekend was a slight disappointment. The tax-free weekend began at 12:01 a.m. last Friday and ended at midnight Saturday.
According to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, clothing and footwear items costing less than $100 per item were exempt from sales tax during the weekend. Accessories such as jewelry, handbags, wallets, watches, backpacks and similar items did not qualify for the tax exemption. Cleats worn in conjunction with an athletic or recreational activity, school supplies and computers were also not included.
Clay County Co-op Clerk Abbie Williams said the co-op didn’t see much traffic during the weekend, and thought many residents may have gone to larger towns like Tupelo or Columbus to do their shopping.
“We were somewhat disappointed,” Williams said. “We did an additional 25 percent off on our uniforms and I think we made three sales.”
The tax break was established for the last weekend in July in 2008 by then Gov. Haley Barbour to help Mississippi families with purchasing their back-to-school clothing. Co-op Assistant Manager Richard Ellis said the first year of the tax break saw a large number of people coming into the store, but each year that number has decreased.
“The first year it was unbelievable how many people we had visit our store,” Ellis said. “I don’t know if people just weren’t thinking about it or if they think 7 percent off merchandise is not that big a deal.”
Outdoor Gear Manager Penny Pearson said her store at the Mossy Oak outlet saw less foot traffic than during last year’s tax holiday, but it was still a decent couple of days.

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