Tax free holiday gets mixed reviews - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tax free holiday gets mixed reviews

August 1, 2004

Albany -- This was the first year Georgia combined the two tax free weekends into a four day event. Sunday was the last day of the tax free holiday and when you ask if it was a success, the answer depends on who you ask .

The Albany Mall opened an hour early to handle crowds of shoppers, but many clothing retailers say they didn't expect to break any sales records during the last day of the tax-free holiday.

"Sales have been moderate, not really up or down. We have had our normal customers come and shop with us. Thank God for that," says Darien Lee of Oxford Street Clothing store.

Since the tax free holiday began, many retailers have been slashing prices to draw shoppers, but the mall only saw one big day of shopping.

Some shoppers say the tax savings weren't enough to motivate them to battle the large crowds.

"There were a few items that I had to pick up. I would have come to the mall whether it was tax free or not," says shopper Sherryl Mancewycz.

Despite slow sales in clothing , the hot sellers were shoes and computers.

"It's the busiest its ever been since I have worked here," says Josh Blake a worker at a shoe store called the Shoe Department.

The story of large crowds was the same at stores like Target where school supplies were being offered tax free and were quickly flying off shelves into baskets.

"We had this area crowded," says Terrance Flowers of Target pointing to the school supply area. "We had parents and children picking and pulling at everything they needed."

Overall retailers say the like the idea of one big four day tax free holiday and are banking on shoppers marking their calendars for next year.

Some retailers say the tax holiday was the second-busiest shopping weekend of the year in 2003 -- behind only the Thanksgiving weekend.

posted at 6:47PM by scott.hunter@walb.com