Retailers report spike in sales during tax-free holiday

A tax-free holiday on school supplies and clothes brought out more shoppers over the weekend.

A Super Target off Immokalee Road east of Interstate 75 got so busy that it sold out of short-sleeved shirts and shorts for uniforms.

“It definitely exceeded our expectations,” said Stacie Gehl, store manager. “We were extremely busy.”

Though the three-day, tax-free holiday started off slow on Friday, it picked up steam on Saturday and Sunday, when more parents were off work and able to shop, she said.

School supplies are running thin at her store, but more will be arriving over the next few days to fill the demand until public school starts in Collier County next week.

The store’s sales got a boost at about noon on Sunday when about 300 members of the Living Word Family Church down the street came in to buy supplies for Collier County school teachers. The congregation donated the supplies, which were on a teachers’ wish list.

After buying the supplies, the church members loaded them into a large trailer in the store’s parking lot so they could be easily delivered.

“We were expecting them, so we were able to put together the supplies ahead of time to make sure we had enough of them when they came,” Gehl said.

A Super Target at Coconut Point Mall in Estero also saw strong sales over the weekend, even though school in that county started last week. But the store didn’t run out of anything.

Over the weekend, 50-cent binders went quick at the Walmart off U.S. 41 East near the Collier County Courthouse. But they’re back in stock, said Carlos Echon, an assistant store manager.

“Our sales were up for this weekend,” he said.

He said customers were buying more clothes than they were school supplies. “All the uniforms sold very good this year, compared to last year,” Echon said.

While some believe the holiday spurs sales, others criticize it, saying shoppers are only shifting their purchases to take advantage of the tax breaks, leading to revenue losses for the state and local governments.

At Staples off Immokalee Road near I-75, the basic school supplies were in demand over the weekend including pencils, erasers and folders.

“We did see more business, just like every year,” said Bill Bak, the store’s general manager.

He said shoppers seemed to be buying what they would have anyway.

Florida’s first sales tax holiday was approved in 1998. The Florida Legislature did not approve it in 2008 or 2009, but it was reinstated in 2010.

Connect with Laura Layden at www.naplesnews.com/staff/laura_layden.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features