Highs and lows reported for annual Sales Tax Holiday

Updated: Jul. 21, 2020 at 2:44 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama’s annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday saw some high and low points.

Last weekend, several items were tax free to help people shop for the new school year. According to the Alabama Retail Association, sales of computers, laptops, tablets and printers were up significantly. However, there was a considerable drop in sales for school supplies as uncertainties surround the 2020-2021 school year.

“Parents are still unsure about how school is going to look like in the fall,” said Nancy Dennis with the association. “And they are waiting with a kind of wait and see attitude. And maybe even waiting to buy their school supplies until closer to the school start date.”

The association said apparel sales were either comparable to or down from 2019′s holiday, particularly in areas where the school year is still in question. Sales were better for stores that only sell children’s apparel and in areas where school systems have announced there will be on-campus classes; however, business overall is running from 20 percent to 50 percent of what it was in 2019 for some of Alabama’s apparel retailers.

“People will be buying back to school all the way into September,” Dennis said. “And so they’re encouraged or discouraged in the idea that they maybe didn’t do as much sales as last year, but that was to be expected. But they are encouraged in that people are buying, and they are buying and trying to buy locally as much as they can.”

Online sales are doing well, according to the association, and face covering sales have also soared in Alabama. Retailers reported for the most part shoppers wore face coverings without complaint this weekend.

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