Shoppers delight: Shop without paying sales tax

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's day two of Mississippi's popular back-to-school shopping tradition. Parents can shop for clothing and footwear, and not pay the state's seven percent sales tax.

Mississippi's sales tax holiday is always the last Friday and Saturday in July.  Many South Mississippi merchants expected large crowds and a big business boost.

School-La-La in Biloxi made sure it has plenty of uniforms in stock.  Robin Trosclair remembers well what the store looked like during the last two Sales Tax Holidays.

"It was pretty much mass chaos. It was lots of people. We had two lines going on the whole time we're open," said Trosclair.

Trosclair said sales at the shop jumped as much as 40 percent.

"It's great. It is. It's fabulous for the business," Trosclair said.

Belk in Biloxi also ordered extra back-to-school clothing and footwear. The department store is putting more staff on the sales floor, extending its hours and offering bonuses for shoppers who want to take advantage of the sales tax exemption.

"We have a great coupon so they can save on top of that seven percent this Friday and Saturday," said Christine Powell, Belk Biloxi's Regional Manager. "We also have our clearance, an additional 50 percent off. It is our biggest weekend for July."

It's a weekend Terri Byrd of Long Beach looks forward to every July. The mother of four keeps an eye out for items that are eligible for the tax break and said the savings really add up.

"The first year, I saved about $250 to $300. I did all my shopping on those two days that year," said Byrd. "I think it's a really good idea and it helps save money. And the stores do a very good job, I believe, of giving us the discounts and the incentives to come in."

And it looks like many stores are eagerly waiting for the influx of shoppers.

The sales tax holiday ends midnight tonight. Remember, certain items like school supplies, computers and backpacks do not qualify for the tax break.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.