Next week’s sales tax holiday expected to draw large crowds

Published 11:09 am Friday, July 22, 2016

As families across Vicksburg prepare for the beginning of August, back to school clothing and footwear often fall high on the priority list.

To help families across Mississippi with those purchases—and apparel purchases for the entire family—the state’s sales tax holiday will be held Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30, and local shops and retail stores are gearing up for the big sales weekend.

“It’s the perfect time for people to come out and make their purchases because there’s all kinds of sales going on,” Jerry Chamber, general manager of the Outlets at Vicksburg, said. “This is a big part of the year for us. We expect the regular crowd, which is always pretty substantial, so we’re bracing for impact basically. So even if it’s the number of people it has been every year, it’s still a massive crowd. ”

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Mike Carlisle, the general manager of Vicksburg Mall, and Norma Massey, managing partner of Frederick’s Boutique, agreed the weekend is a good for sales.

“Leading up to it even now, it seems like we’ve had more traffic beginning last week,” Carlisle said. “Either people are looking for things and then going to come back on that weekend to purchase them or something like that.”

Massey said it is two of Frederick’s biggest sales days during this season.

“It’ll just be a steady stream of people,” she said. “We try to be prepared for the back to school business. People will definitely wait until that weekend to save the tax money.”

During the weekend, clothing and footwear that costs less than $100 per item will be exempt from its normal 7 percent sales tax and can be purchased at sticker price. Items exempt from sales tax include pants, shirts and blouses, dresses, coats, jackets, belts, hats, undergarments and many shoes.

“(Some stores) will be 100 percent tax free and others will not, so it’s just a matter of going through everything and making sure,” Carlisle said, noting that lists with specific exempt items will be available in the mall and staff members will be able to assist those who have questions.

The Outlets at Vicksburg are tying in the tax-free holiday with their new Support Your School Program, Chambers said. Those who make purchases at outlet stores beginning Friday, July 22 will be asked which local school they support, and the school with the most supporters will receive $500 when everything is tallied for the 18th annual Citywide Pep Rally scheduled for Aug. 13.

“It’s a flow from tax free weekend,” he said. “Normally the pep rally has been a big thing. They come to the pep rally and then leave. The schools don’t get much out of it, so we’re trying to change that and get the people who come to the pep rally into the stores as well.”

Both the outlets and the mall will extend their operating hours the weekend of the sales tax holiday to give shoppers extra time to make their purchases.

“It’s a big deal for the community and just helps everyone save a little money,” Carlisle said.

The outlets will open an hour earlier at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 30, and the mall will open an hour earlier at 9 a.m. on both Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30.

The Official Guide to the Sales Tax Holiday, which lists items that are and are not eligible for sales tax exemption, is available on the Mississippi Department of Revenue’s website,