Tax-free holiday more successful in large stores

Helena Rodriguez: PNT staff writer

Many large retail stores in the Clovis-Portales area reported doubling their back-to-school sales during this past weekend’s tax-free holiday. Meanwhile, mostly smaller stores reported little to no impact.

“This is the first year that we got to actually participate in the tax-free weekend in the Portales store so we had a great weekend. We had a lot more traffic and sales were double to last year,” said Melissa Bonem, manager of the Beall’s store in Portales.

Although some stores in Clovis last year staged their own tax-free weekend, this was Portales’ first time participating in a tax-free weekend, which was statewide for the first time this year. Legislators approved the weekend to keep New
Mexicans from going off to neighboring Texas, which has held tax-free holidays for many years.

“We sold everything for back to school from kindergarten up to high school and even college age,” Bonem said. “We also had some checks come through which were from out of state.”

At North Plains Mall in Clovis, Manager Cindy Banister said she received reports from two of the mall’s clothing stores that showed double-digit increases in sales and traffic.

“It was phenomenal all weekend,” Banister said. “I think we were successful in keeping the shoppers here in Clovis and we are extremely grateful to our governor and state senator, Stuart Ingle, who sponsored the tax-free bill.”

Randy Dayhoff of Randy’s Shoes in Clovis also reported good sales during the tax-free holiday, particularly sales of tennis shoes for the whole family.

“We had a big sale going on all summer, and tied in with the tax-free holiday, we had an exceptionally good weekend,” Dayhoff said. “A couple of people also commented on the fact that they are glad that merchants this time didn’t have to absorb the cost of the tax-free weekend like we did last year.”

Several merchants held their own tax-free weekend last August, but since it was not officially approved by the state, merchants had to pay the tax.

Meanwhile, smaller stores such as Radio Shack in the North Plains Mall and Sheila’s clothing store in Portales, did not see a noticeable increase in their back-to-school sales during the tax-free holiday.

“We did not sell a whole lot more than usual,” said Liberty Beaulieu of Radio Shack. She also noted, however, that many of the store’s computers did not qualify to be tax free.

Nontaxable items included clothing, footwear and school supplies of $100 or less and computers priced $1,000 or less and computer equipment priced $500 or less.

Sheila Hays, owner of Sheila’s Classy to Whimsy Ladies Apparel in Portales, said her store also did not feel that much impact from the tax-free holiday. “I had a few sales, but the Lucky jeans are about the only thing I sold a few more of this weekend.”

The tax-free holiday began on Friday and ended at midnight on Sunday.