First tax-free holiday in Arkansas a boon for business

LITTLE ROCK, Ark Mon Aug 8, 2011 11:21am EDT

Related Topics

LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Reuters) - Arkansans shopped until they dropped on Saturday, braving temperatures deep into the triple-digits to take advantage of the state's first sales tax holiday weekend.

"I have never seen anything like this," said Clancy Graham, a manager at Little Rock's RK Collections Boutique, an independently owned store. "If we could do this three times a year, it would be amazing. It has done crazy good stuff for our business."

Arkansas lawmakers approved the holiday in February to give parents a tax break on their back-to-school shopping for items such as uniforms, clothing and school supplies.

The tax-holiday also covers items not necessarily needed for school including wedding apparel, girdles and costumes.

Officials have estimated it would cost Arkansas about $2 million in revenue.

Texas, Mississippi, Florida and other states have had such a holiday for several years to ease the tax burden on families just before the school year, and to encourage consumers.

Rebecca Simpson of Little Rock braved the crowds and heat to buy school uniforms for her five-year-old son. The thermometer stood at 107 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday evening.

"I had to get them there so it seemed like a good idea to wait for the tax holiday," Simpson said. "If I hadn't been limited in where I could get his school clothes, I probably wouldn't have been out in the insanity today. It took forever to check out because they all had special codes to enter to remove the tax."

Graham said sales were phenomenal on Saturday.

"We have tripled our daily goal," Graham said. "We've made more today than we have made in this whole month because it's been so hot no one is getting out."

Graham said customers visited the store earlier in the week to "pre-shop" and returned Saturday to buy their favorites. The store also put summer items on sale to lure buyers.

(Editing by Karen Brooks and David Bailey)

FILED UNDER: