Shoppers Jam Stores As Fla. Tax-Free Holiday Ends

June 13, 2005

Saturday and Sunday marked the last two days of Florida’s tax-free holiday on hurricane supplies and it seemed Tropical Storm Arlene motivated last-minute shoppers to check their supplies, realize they were not ready for a hurricane and rush out before having to pay a 6 percent state tax – local stores were jammed with shoppers looking for everything from flashlight batteries to generators.

Shoppers looking for large-ticked, and out-of-stock items like power generators, got a break, because many stores issued “rain checks,” which meant that a consumer could prepay for a large out-of-stock item, wait a week, and the purchase would be “tax-free.”

Store managers said the tax holiday was very popular, and that many customers waited until the last day to attempt to buy their hurricane supplies.

Stores like Home Depot and Lowes, which also matched the tax break with their own discounts, reported their business grew more than 100 percent. Store spokespersons said customers stood in line waiting for the arrival of generators and when their orders of 25 to 50 arrived, they were again sold out within a few hours.

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