Stores look forward to school supply sales

Published 2:02 am Wednesday, July 30, 2008

By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
Local merchants are looking forward to a busy weekend as shoppers take advantage of tax-free school supplies.
Brewton and East Brewton are both participating in the third annual Alabama tax-free weekend. State and municipal sales taxes will be suspended, leaving shoppers only to pay the 1-cent county tax on items including school supplies, clothing under $100 and computer equipment under $750.
The sales tax suspension begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ends at midnight Sunday.
Sherry Davenport, owner of Bonehead Boots, said she is expecting a big weekend.
Jorge Valdes, assistant manager of Walgreens, said the store is also planning for a larger group of shoppers.
Merchants said they have already seen a boost in sales over the summer months as gas prices have kept local shoppers at home.
Nena's is also selling new shirts for W.S. Neal schools, which are in the process of switching their uniform colors from navy shirts to royal blue.
Florida, which has had a similar sales tax suspension in years past, will not hold a tax-free weekend this year. Debbie Cole, assistant manager at Brewton Wal-Mart, said that could hold an advantage for local stores as well.
Shoppers can save 7 percent on their purchases during the sales tax holiday. City sales taxes amounting to 3 percent will be suspended in Brewton and East Brewton on qualified purchases, and state sales taxes of 4 percent will also be suspended during the period.
Escambia County has declined to participate in the past three years because its only sales tax revenue - which amounts to 1 percent on purchases - benefits Escambia County Schools.
Among the items exempt from sales tax are: school uniforms, most clothes and shoes, diapers, boots, belts and other clothing and accessories. Each individual item cannot cost more than $100. School supplies exempt from the list include binders, notebook paper, art supplies and other classroom needs with a sales price of $50 or less, per item. Books with a sales price of $30 or less are also exempt, as are computers, software and computer supplies with a single purchase sales price of $750 or less.