The shopping experience in Oklahoma City is about to be expanded, just in time for the state's tax-free weekend.
This year's sales tax holiday will coincide with the opening weekend of The Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City Aug. 5-7, no doubt sending bargain hunters into a buying frenzy.
Crowds are a given, as shoppers from Oklahoma and beyond get their first look at the new, 348,000-square-foot outlet center at Interstate 40 and Council Road.
The sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5, and continues through midnight Sunday, Aug. 7. During that time, clothing and shoes priced under $100 will be tax-free.
The outlet mall will have extended hours during its opening weekend beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 5.
Gina Slechta, vice president of marketing for Horizon Group Properties, said the mall was already pushing for an August opening date, and combining it with the tax-free weekend was ideal.
“We wanted to be open for this. We are trying very hard to attract customers from Texas, Kansas and Arkansas,” she said.
The mall will host entertainment throughout the weekend, including appearances from Captain America and Spider-Man. Retailers will run their own promotions, and many are planning giveaways for the first 100 customers, Slechta said.
All 87 stores are on track to open Aug. 5, she said. Retailers include Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Nike, DKNY, JoS. A. Bank, Michael Kors, Chico's, Banana Republic, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour, Levi's and Carter's.
Law exempts clothing, shoes under $100
Last year, shoppers saved more than $6.8 million during the sales tax holiday, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. It occurs each year on the first weekend in August and is mandatory for all retailers. The law exempts clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 from sales taxes; the $100 limit is per item, not per transaction.
Even though the state is facing a budget crunch, there wasn't a push to eliminate the sales tax holiday, which has been in place since 2007, said Paula Ross, a spokeswoman for the Tax Commission.
“For the merchants and the economy, it's a positive,” she said, adding that the loss of sales tax is made up in other ways such as keeping shoppers in Oklahoma and attracting those from other states.