While many students in the Forsyth County school system probably aren’t ready to head back to class on Aug. 9, retailers are prepared to sell them all those necessary school supplies.
According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, spending for kindergarten through 12th grade and college nationwide is expected to reach a record of nearly $84 billion this year. It also noted that the average family with school-age children likely will spend nearly $700 on supplies.
That doesn’t surprise Steve Reid, manager of Super Target on Market Place Boulevard in Cumming.
“Back to school is the largest [shopping period] between the summer holidays and Thanksgiving,” he said.
At Kohl’s, also on Market Place Boulevard, manager Larry Wilkerson said his staff is also ready for the back-to-school rush.
Both managers are anticipating large crowds Aug. 10 and 11, the Georgia sales tax holiday.
This will be the first holiday of its type since 2009, when it was last instituted by the General Assembly.
During the holiday, customers can avoid paying sales tax on certain items, including clothing and footwear up to $100.
Other items exempted include general school supplies that cost $20 or less, and computers and accessories less than $1,000.
“We’re anticipating a lot of our customers to shop that weekend,” Wilkerson said.
Reid noted that his store prepares for back-to-school season early.
“This year we had our [section] available to everyone by July 1,” he said. Wilkerson said his staff is also ready.
“We just marked down a lot of our summer clothing because obviously it’s getting toward the end of the summer,” he said. “However, a lot of our customers will still be purchasing that stuff for their children to go start school with because it’ll be hot in Georgia until the end of September.”
At Kohl’s, clothing is the big school item, while at Target, there’s a wide range of products.
“We bump up our levels of basics for the boys and girls like the underwear and socks, all that, and the athletic shoes are a big part of it,” Wilkerson said.
“With back to school it’s really everywhere in the house, it’s the clothing to get the kids ready to go back in style, it’s the backpacks, it’s the food for lunches and breakfasts and of course, pens, pencils, paper that we traditionally think of when we think of back to school,” Reid said.
“Of course, with technology now being as it is, that could include [computers] or graphing calculators or any of those kinds of things.”
Wilkerson compared the sales tax holiday to Black Friday, which is held every year the day after Thanksgiving.
“Black Friday is a 24-hour deal, and this is more spread out,” he said. “On the tax-free weekend we’ll have a tremendous amount of traffic both Friday and Saturday. It’s a significant influx of business.”
Reid agreed, noting that while the holiday begins just after Forsyth County public schools open, it will still bring in a lot of business.
“It’s a little bit later this year, but it’s still a couple days after the kids go back to school here in Forsyth, so it’s still tied to that last weekend that people usually think of as a back to school shopping weekend,” he said.
Both stores plan to have plenty of help available to customers through the end of the back-to-school shopping season, particularly during the sales tax holiday.
“We always have extra lanes open and we offer school lists in our back to school department in case the guest gets to the store and has forgotten their school list,” Reid said.
Added Wilkerson: “We will be very, very heavily staffed … virtually everyone that works for us will be working that weekend.”