Stores prepare for busy tax-free weekend

Beaufort County retailers are already preparing for one of their busiest weekends, though it is still a month away.

South Carolina’s tax holiday, which allows shoppers to buy clothes and back-to-school items without paying the state’s 6-percent sales tax, is on par with sales on the day after Thanksgiving.

“It’s one of the busiest weekends of the year,” said Val Bumah, assistant manager of the Bluffton Best Buy. “It’s very, very, very busy.”

Bumah expects even more sales this year, as new tablet computers hit the market.

The sales-tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 3 and runs through midnight Aug. 5.

The holiday applies to the purchase of bath and bed linens, clothing and clothing accessories, such as hats, handbags and footwear. Also exempted are school supplies, such as pencils and notebooks, as well as computers, software, printers and printing supplies.

Taxes will still apply to jewelry, cosmetics, eye wear, wallets, watches, furniture, rental of clothing or footwear, items for use in a business, and items placed on layaway.

Some managers haven’t set their plans yet, but their stores probably will be open longer and more employees will work that day.

“(Shoppers) want to hit up multiple places, so we try to keep it efficient so they can get what they need and keep on shopping,” said Robert Pritchyk, store leader of JCPenney in Beaufort.

Pritchyk said plans for the weekend could include competitions among store employees to keep them energized and motivated.

“It’s fun,” he said of working that weekend. “When it’s busy, it makes it more fun — you just engage with all the customers.”

At the Tanger Outlet Centers in Bluffton, many stores will have extra sales and discounts that weekend, general manager LaDonna Shamlou said.

Shamlou said the outlets will collect nonperishable food for Bluffton Self Help and The Deep Well Project. Shoppers who bring a canned good will receive coupons for 20 percent off an item at participating stores.