As students are gearing up to head back to the classroom, retailers are gearing up to provide them with the tools and clothes for success. Retailers around the area will offer earlier hours, sales and discounts as part of the Texas Sales Tax Holiday from Aug. 7 to Aug. 9.

This year, shoppers are expected to save an estimated $87 million in state and local sales taxes during the sales tax holiday, according to a press release earlier this month from Glenn Hegar, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

“We are prepping the store for a very busy weekend because we know that it’s going to be,” said Crystal Worley, the manager for Waxahachie’s Belk story off of U.S. Highway 77. “We take our time with our customers to make sure they have exactly what they want.”

Worley said some of items are in demand right now are fashion from the 1970s, which include bellbottoms and bell sleeved shirts. Belk is also stocked with a large selection of items for children such as Under Armour athletic gear and backpacks. Customers shopping at Belk can also see discounted items as well as sales.

“We do have a shopping pass that day offering an additional 20 percent off. They will get that on top of tax-free. There is also a 25 percent off regular sale coupon pass. Then we will still have great clearence deals for summer goods,” Worley said. “So if they are not looking for winter goods, we have our summer goods still.”

Belk will open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug.7-8, and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Aug. 9.

Worley advises customers come early to shop because of the large crowds expected that weekend.

“It gets kind of chaotic and everybody wants that one-on-one customer service experience. So I do ask that they have patients,” Worley said. “There will be long lines and it will be busy. We are prepared to be fully staffed for it.”

JCPenney in Waxahachie will be featuring extended hours and discounts for customers as well. The store will open 10 a.m. -10 p.m. Aug. 7; 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Aug. 8; and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Aug.9.

“Obviously back to school for all of us retailers, but for us in particular, it is second to the holiday season as far as the volume goes. It is important shopping time for millions of families across the country. So it is a big deal for JCPenney,”said general manager Jay Tollett said. “We have been training for the last couple of weeks and adding additional help also, which also helps the community. We really are building that up. We have been doing practice runs.”

Tollett said some of the items in demand include denim, back-to-school items like backpacks, school uniforms and Disney-themed items for children. JCPenney will also be offering customers discounts with several coupons available at the store.

Waxahachie’s Walmart store director Stan Francis said customers can expect friendly atmosphere when they come out to shop during the tax free weekend. The store will also have additional staff on hand to help with the large number of customers.

“We have got a listing of all the things that are going to be available that are going to be included in that event,”Francis said. “We have stocked up on those items to make sure they are available for customers. We will have extra cashiers on staff that will be ready for the customer flow that is here.”

State law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced under $100 from sales tax, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend next weekend. The tax holiday weekend has been an annual event since 1999.

Lists of apparel and school supplies that may be purchased tax-free can be found on the comptroller’s website at www.TexasTaxHoliday.org.