I guess they didn’t read the rexblog: Back on the ground in Nashville and clearing out some missed news items when I ran across this curious story in yesterday’s Tennessean: “Retailers reap profit in tax-free weekend – computer, clothing stores surprised by waves of shoppers.” The story explains how surprised retailers were with the magnitude of shoppers taking advantage of a three-day holiday from one of the highest sales-taxes in the country.
“MacAuthority, a Nashville Apple sales and service dealer, had sales of $450,000 over the three days, about $100,000 more than anticipated, said Reba Carter, who handles accounting. People waited for hours in line at the Apple store at The Mall at Green Hills.”
All I can say to retailers is this: Listen to bloggers. Last Tuesday, I posted this explanation of how the weekend was going to be a tremendous real-life example of a simple economics lesson on how taxes influence consumer purchasing decisions. I specifically used Apple as an example. When my daughter went to purchase her computer on Friday, she had to take a number outside the store and wait to get in. By Friday, the first day of the tax-holiday, the Apple store had sold out of all MacBooks. (Ironically, even though it was not covered by the sales tax exemption, the iPod she purchased was also sold-out by Friday afternoon, no doubt because of the “free iPod” student promotion Apple is currently running.) For the most part, the employees at the Apple store were merely facilitating purchases through (in essence) Apple.com — with the advantage that all purchases made in the store, even on purchases that had to be shipped, were exempt from nearly 10% in sales taxes.
By the way, Nashville blogger Jackson Miller, who is a partner in a retail store along with his day-job and side-passions as a geek, anticipated in advance what the weekend would bring. (Although I may disagree with him on his stance on the issue.)