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Darien Stores Gear Up For Back-To-School Tax-Free Shopping

The shelves at the Darien Sport Shop are stocked with back-to-school clothing. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
The shelves at the Darien Sport Shop are stocked with back-to-school clothing. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Just as the last days of summer slip away, families in Fairfield County and beyond will be trading the beach for the checkout counter as Connecticut begins its 15th annual tax-free shopping week.

“This is where it all starts,” Tom Whitney, general merchandise manager of the Darien Sport Shop, told the Daily Voice. “The tax free [week] is a positive incentive for people to go out and begin shopping.”

Long seen as a way for families to stock up on back-to-school clothing, the tax-free week comes just as local schools and universities are preparing to begin classes.

During the Sales Tax Holiday Week, which runs from Sunday, Aug. 16, to Saturday, Aug. 22, most individual items of clothing and footwear priced under $100 are exempt from Connecticut sales and use tax. For purchases costing $100 or more, sales tax is calculated on the full cost of the item, according to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services.

Last year's limit, however, was far more generous. In 2014, The Daily Voice reported that all clothing items that cost less than $300 were exempt from the sales tax .

The Darien Sport Shop’s back room is stocked and ready for customers. Fresh displays of Polo Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines and johnnie-O are ready for back-to-school customers.

In nearby Fairfield, the Fairfield University Bookstore, which stocks everything from local high school clothing to college textbooks, expects to see many customers this week.

“Families, who are on vacation right now, are just coming back and one of their first destinations is downtown,” said Craig Kennedy, trade book manager for the bookstore. “So we’re delighted.”

With families returning to town from summer vacations and college students moving back into their dorms, Kennedy said he expects to have a very busy bookstore.

Kevin B. Sullivan, the department’s commissioner, said retailers and consumers both look forward to the boost in sales.

“Connecticut consumers plan their back-to-school shopping and retailers plan some of their best bargains around the annual tax-free week,” Sullivan said in a statement. “We hope everyone will take the opportunity to make their shopping dollars go farther and give a boost to our state’s economy.”

The department said expects to forego about $6 million in sales and use tax, about $1 million less than in 2014.

More information on which items are tax exempt is available here .

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