Tax-free weekend kicks off


Aug. 20, 2010 at 3:20 a.m.

Kindergartener Jaylen Hoff, 5, can't make up her mind which backpack she wants to buy at Target on Friday morning, the opening day of the tax-free weekend.

Kindergartener Jaylen Hoff, 5, can't make up her mind which backpack she wants to buy at Target on Friday morning, the opening day of the tax-free weekend.

Leslie Hoff had his hands full, following his grandchildren through Target's backpack section.

Jeremiah Hoff, 7, balanced on tip-toe to pluck bags from hooks as his sister, 5-year-old Jaylen Hoff, waffled between two pink bags.

"They wore out their old backpacks, so we're out to get new ones," Hoff said with a shrug.

Tax-free weekend kicked off Friday, offering Texas shoppers a break on school supplies and clothing.

Palacios resident Victoria Duran and her family started at Dillard's and JCPenney but visited other stores as the day wore on. With four grandchildren to shop for, Duran expected to spend about $600 on school clothes.

Shopping for Tera Smith and her family will span the weekend.

Smith, her husband and four children made their way through the Victoria Mall, looking for blue jeans and other clothes, Friday. They planned to buy school supplies later.

The group will spend a few hundred dollars, Smith said, but that's why they shopped this weekend.

"It saves us a little bit of money," she said.

Nationwide, the average family will spend $606.40 on clothes, school supplies, shoes and electronics, according to data from the National Retail Federation.

Consumers weren't the only ones affected by the savings. Stores did their part to prepare.

Children's Place hired staffers to meet the added demand and brought in extra denim, shoes and jackets, said Robyn Cardenas, the store's manager. The company also mailed out coupons valid throughout the sales tax holiday.

Things inside the store were slow through the week, Cardenas said, but the staff expected things to pick up as the weekend went on.

2010 has been a good year for JCPenney and the staff expects a 5 percent to 10 percent gain during the weekend, said Brian Patteson, store manager. He said he expects clothes to sell well, especially since JCPenney recently began selling the Liz Claiborne line.

The store set out more merchandise than usual, beefed up its staff and extended its hours to 11 p.m. throughout the weekend, he said.

Target saw strong school supply sales all week, store manager Mike Yokum said, and many people likely held off clothes shopping until they could get tax savings.

Friday tends to be the store's busiest day, Yokum explained, and Saturday tends to be busy between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. On Sundays, it's hard to know what will happen.

The Buckle's staff began getting back-to-school shoppers last week, but prepared for the weekend with a work night, said Courtney Zimmermann, a full-time sales leader. That included getting mannequins out and arranging merchandise.

The store offers more guys' polos than usual because of school dress codes, she said. The store also has tops for girls to layer under school shirts.

Zimmerman said the weekend was off to a positive start.

"So far, it's been good," she said.



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