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Wednesday, July 28, 2010 - 7:57am

Without Tax Break, Retailers Get Creative

Georgia’s state legislature canceled the annual tax-free holiday program this year because it can’t afford the loss of tax revenue.

Retailers, however, have come up with some aggressive marketing plans to get customers to buy.

They're discounting goods by the tax amount and paying the tax themselves, extending store hours and holding additional appreciation sales to attract shoppers.

Robert Humm, the general manager for J.C. Penney’s at Glynn Place Mall in Brunswick, is hopeful that his company’s decision to discount items will bring in more customers.

"How are we gonna offset that?" Humm says. "Well, we’ll pay the sales tax and we’ll take the hit instead of Georgia taking the hit because obviously Georgia needs the revenue right now."

Humm says his company was concerned about losing part of the 40% increase in revenue for the back-to-school season

Humm still expects back-to-school shoppers to number fewer than in recent years.

The weeks before the fall school year is usually the second-busiest sales period for many retailers, especially clothiers, second only to Christmas.

Continuing the tax-free weekend on clothes, shoes, computers and other back-to-school items would have cost the state $12 billion.

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