Parents and students can save money on their back-to-school shopping over the next three days.
The 2014 sales tax-free holiday kicks off today in Florida and runs through Sunday. The holiday exempts families from paying sales tax while shopping for numerous back-to-school items, including clothing and footwear of $100 or less per item and on certain supplies of less than $15 per item.
Another tax break for families took effect July 1. Youth bicycle helmets, child restraint systems and booster seats are now tax-exempt and will provide additional relief for families buying the items.
The Walmart Supercenter on Del Prado Boulevard has previously taken part in the holiday.
"Obviously, it's an opportunity for customers to buy a lot of their school needs and save some additional money," Steve Durham, the store manager, said Thursday. "And it gives us an opportunity to serve our customers and offer additional savings to them above and beyond what we normally do."
"We expect it to be busy," he added.
Daphne Folsom, manager of Belk, echoed that outlook.
"We are definitely prepping for an extremely busy weekend," she said. "We're opening early and closing late - we're hoping that it's really going to bring in the traffic."
The extended hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Durham explained that traditional school items priced at $15 or under, like crayons, paper and spiral notebooks, are tax free. Blank CD computer discs, lunch boxes and calculators are also included.
Some taxable supplies are computer and printer paper, masking tape, staples and staplers.
School uniforms and apparel are also tax exempt. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, sales tax-free "clothing" means any article of wearing apparel intended to be wore on or about the human body. Clothing does not include watches, watch bands, jewelry, umbrellas and handkerchiefs.
Walmart will have sales on basic items like packages underwear and socks.
"We also have a clearance event," Durham said of the weekend.
General items such as shorts, T-shirts and other articles of clothing will be included.
"It'll cover all areas of apparel," he said.
Folsom explained that Belk has a small selection of uniforms in-store.
"However, we can order school approved uniforms for them at no shipping fee, and it will be sent directly to their home," she said.
Today and Saturday, Belk is featuring doorbusters for shoppers. Children's clothing is 50 percent off and denim for juniors is 50 percent off, enabling families to buy a pair a jeans for about $14.
"We'll have young men licensed graphic T's for $7.99," Folsom said. "We'll have shorts that are 60 percent off, and we'll have some young men's denim for $17.99."
New Balance athletic shoes for women will be available for 5 percent off, while short-sleeved T's, shorts and cropped pants for women will be on sale for 60 percent off.
"Those are the biggest items we're trying to promote," she said.
Belk's spring and summer clothing is marked down to half off with an extra 50 percent off.
"There's great steals going on right now," Folsom said.
Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories may also qualify for the sales tax-free holiday. The exemption applies to the first $750 of the sales price of a qualified item.
"They'll be purchasing computers for their children, but a lot of it's going to be accessories," Durham said. "Most of the volume is going to be around the accessories."
Some tax exempt items are computer cables, data storage devices, headphones, mice and even software. Taxable items include regular batteries, cell phones, digital cameras and game systems.
Durham noted that families can find most of their school supply lists in-store.
"We have printed lists available," he said. "They also can go online."
Over the weekend, Belk is also partnering with the United Way to host a denim trade-in event. Shoppers who bring in slightly worn jeans to donate will receive $5 off toward a new pair.
"It'll be the first time that we do this," Folsom said. "It's to benefit some of the more underprivileged children."
For more information about the sales tax-free holiday or to view the list of items that are tax-exempt, visit the Florida Department of Revenue's website online at: dor.myflorida.com/dor/.
Walmart is at 1619 S. Del Prado Blvd.
Belk is at 2342 Surfside Blvd.