El Campo and area retailers saw a steady stream of shoppers looking for back-to-school bargains over the weekend during the state’s three-day Sales Tax Holiday.
Shoppers saved on a wide variety of clothing, footwear and assorted back-to-school supplies. Most items priced under $100 were tax-free on a per item basis.
Bill Newton, owner of Wild Bill’s Western Wear, Inc., with retail stores in El Campo and Bay City said this was the best sales tax holiday weekend he’s experienced in years.
“It went real good in both stores. We had clearance sales, and we reduced a lot of the clearance items,” Newton said.
It wasn’t only the families doing back-to-school shopping that benefited from the sales tax holiday, but the average customer did, too, Newton said.
“I sold a lot of work clothing. Those guys bought shirts under $100 and got them tax free. The average customer gets that help, too. I think I sold more to the average customer than the school kids,” he said.
Parents and grandparents who came shopping with the students bought items as well, he said.
His best sellers included short-sleeved and knit shirts, caps, pullovers and jeans.
“Cowboy hat sales have slowed down, but caps, all kinds of caps are popular. The kids no longer want Wranglers. They want the fashion ones with the fancy designs on the pockets. Even the little kids want those,” Newton said.
Both stores weren’t open Sunday. Friday and Saturday of the sale tax holiday started off slow, but two hours after opening it became busy and stayed busy until it closed.
Hibbett Sports, 3604 West Loop Suite H, had shoppers linger after the store closed, according to assistant manager Elizabeth Carrera.
“Last year it seemed like we were more busy, but we had less staff. This year, we had more people and it made it easier throughout the day,” Carrera said.
Tennis shoes and backpacks were the best sellers throughout the weekend with more adult customers taking advantage of the tax free shopping and sales.
“We sold more items on clearance than we would have,” she said.
Palais Royal, 1201 N. Mechanic, opened an hour early and stayed open later for the sales tax holiday.
“We were really, really busy this weekend,” according to store manager Gloria Yanis.
Some shoppers waited in the parking lot in their cars before the doors opened eager to use their 50-percent online coupon and take advantage of the “door buster” discounts.
“As soon as we opened, we got customers non stop,” Yanis said.
Business stayed steady all three days with shoppers streaming into the store past the tax free holiday into Monday and Tuesday.
“The week school starts the customers keep coming in getting their children ready for school,” she said.
Yanis believes this sales tax holiday was busier than the previous year with shoppers purchasing Polo shirts, Levi’s jeans and tennis shoes.
“We sold a lot of everything,” she said.
With more customers shopping online, the sales tax holiday brings much needed foot traffic through the store, Yanis said.
“Retail hasn’t been where it used to be. We need to keep them coming in. Our sales were great afterward, and they have been for the past two months,” she said.