COVID-19 impacting back to school shopping ahead of tax-free weekend

Local News

KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – With sales tax-free weekend starting Friday, a local school supplies store is expecting a busy weekend, while some parents aren’t thinking about shopping at all.

This weekend, sales tax is waived on some clothing, school supplies and instructional materials.

F & S School and Office Supply in Kettering is preparing for what’s typically been their biggest sales days of the year.

“Last year we had a booming, booming weekend it was awesome,” owner Perry Hensley said. “This year, I’m expecting to get quite a bit of traffic, but it’s not going to be like what it was last year, I don’t think.”

Because of COVID-19, owner Hensley said the store is getting by, but sales are down 20 percent compared to last year.

He said the reason he’s heard from both teachers and parents is uncertainty.

“They’re willing to buy things, but they’re not sure what to get yet because they’re not in their class and they’re not sure when they’re going back to class,” Hensley said.

While sales are down, F&S salesman Steve Pennington said people are still buying supplies for the classroom and home.

“We’re still selling a lot of decor for the classroom, some home school stuff, parents are prepping for that, so we have workbooks, flashcards, all that stuff, a little bit of everything,” Pennington said.

Several parents told 2 NEWS because school plans constantly changing, they’re still holding off on back to school shopping.

“No school shopping for us yet,” two parents said. “Not clothes shopping, but paper and pencils. We don’t even need paper and pencils because it’s all online.”

Hensley said typically his store sees a rush leading up to the start of school, now he expects to see steady sales through the fall as schools return to in-person learning.

The National Retail Federation predicts parents will spend nearly $34 billion on school supplies this year.

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