Shoppers flock to stores looking for deals on sales tax holiday weekend
Colm O’Molly for The Boston Globe
Customers flocked to stores around the state today, looking to take advantage of this summer’s tax-free weekend and find deals on big-ticket items.
This weekend, consumers can bypass Massachusetts’ 6.25 percent sales tax on items priced lower than $2,500. Vehicles, motor boats, tobacco, meals, and utilities are not included in the tax break.
It is great for businesses that otherwise struggle through a sluggish season for buying, said Jon B. Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.
A typical August weekend without a tax holiday can bring in $100 million in sales. But the state’s tax-free weekends bring in around $500 million worth of sales, comparable to the weekends following Thanksgiving.
“The sales tax holiday is like Black Friday in August,” he said.
The holiday was perfectly timed for Ken Yoon and Iris Bonilla-Yoon. The married couple moved to Lexington in June and have been furnishing their new home, bit by bit.
Once they heard about the tax-free holiday a couple of weeks ago they decided to hold off purchasing a sectional couch until today.
“It certainly incentivized us to do it now,” said Ken Yoon, 40, as the two looked at a couch and table set inside the Crate and Barrel in Burlington this morning.
They sat on a display couch, sizing up the furniture, determining if it was big enough for their three children.
“It needs to be durable,” the 37-year-old Bonilla-Yoon said. “It is going to be spilled on.”
Amin Sharifuddin forgot about the tax-free weekend last year, but today he was at the Best Buy down the road, determined to make up for it.
The 31-year-old software engineer from Billerica bought a $700 convertible laptop-tablet as a gift for his father and was considering picking up an Xbox while he was at it.
He said he is moving to New Delhi next week and wanted to stock up electronics.
Consumers like Sharifuddin, who are ready to make impulse purchases, are exactly the type of consumers retailers want to lure in during these weekends, Hurst said.
Spur of the moment purchases make up around a third of all retail sales.
“If consumers are not in the store in the first place, which otherwise would have been the case this weekend, those sales would never have occurred,” he said.
On top of the tax holiday, many stores lure shoppers in with coupons to increase the chance they will make impulse buys, he said.
That was the case with Kyle Larabee and Lena Kozloski.
A coupon and the tax holiday brought the Cambridge couple and their two children to the Crate and Barrel in Burlington. They were looking for a $300 toaster they have had their eyes on.
They left with it — and two chef knives, bedding, and pillows.
After they finished packing their tax-free purchases into their car, they went back in to hunt for one last item: a grill.
“If we don’t buy it now we will be back next August,” Kozloski, 47, said. “We try to do it all at the same time.”
It seems there is no better time than now.Javier Panzar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@jpanzar.