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No sales tax holiday breeds back-to-school bargain hunters
Stores offering their own deals to entice shoppers
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Sisters Fernanda Bravo, left, 10, a rising fifth-grader, and Yesinia, 12, a rising seventh-grader, look for backpacks for school Sunday while father Gerardo and mother Maria look on inside the JCPenney store at Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville. There will be no tax-free weekend for back-to-school shoppers in Georgia for a second year. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

The kid’s shoes won’t fit for much longer and they’ve outgrown all of last year’s clothes.

The school has provided a long list of supplies, and of course, they are going to need a new backpack to put everything in.

It’s that time of year again and many parents are looking for ways to save on back-to-school items.

Even though shoppers won’t receive a sales-tax-free weekend for the second year in a row, that doesn’t stop them from looking for a deal.

Eight-year-old Carter Stephens picks through the racks of clothes at the JCPenny store in Lakeshore Mall.

“This skateboard hoodie looks cool,” he tells his grandmother before running to another rack to look at more shirts.

His grandparents are taking him shopping for school clothes. Dianne Stephens of Dahlonega said with or without a sale, buying new clothes for the school year is something “you still have to do.”

She said a tax break would have been helpful and without it they are “looking for a bargain.”

During the years of the tax-free weekend, shoppers would save the extra 7 percent sales tax but many stores are offering more substantial savings than that.

Many stores are eager to give shoppers a discount that makes the lack of a tax-free weekend easier to bear. Through half-off, buy-one-get-one and gift card incentives retailers are eager to get people into their stores for all of their back-to-school needs.

Corey Buckley of Gainesville shops at JCPenny for school clothes for her two grandchildren. She said it is much easier to shop alone.

“They’re very picky. They’re worse than I am,” Buckley said, laughing.

She is looking for affordable clothes her 5- and 6-year-old grandchildren will feel comfortable in.

“It adds up when you don’t have the tax break,” Buckley said.

Shoppers are actively searching for the best deals, even if that means driving a little farther than they normally would.

The Bravo family lives in Cornelia but drove to Gainesville to shop at Lakeshore Mall. Fernanda, 10, and Yesinia, 12, try to find backpacks for the new school year.

Gerardo Bravo said through a translator they “are still buying items even though there is no tax break, but it would be nice.”

Families can pick up a Sunday paper or search the Internet to find the best sales in their area. Many retailers offer coupons just for visiting their website or signing up for company newsletters. It may take a little extra effort but the saving can really add up.

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