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Massachusetts Shoppers Flock To Malls For Tax Free Weekend

BRAINTREE (CBS/AP) — Shoppers packed the South Shore Plaza in Braintree on Saturday as they  welcomed the state's first sales tax holiday in three years.

A law approved by the Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker waives the state's 6.25 percent sales tax Saturday and Sunday on most things sold in retail stores.

Items excluded from the sales tax holiday include tobacco products, restaurant meals, motor vehicles and anything that costs more than $2,500.

Shoppers wait in line outside the Apple Store in Braintree on Saturday to make tax-free purchases. (WBZ-TV)

Melanie Santos said she saved $200 at the Apple Store.

"I ordered online, I picked up in store. I'm in and out in 10 minutes. I got my new Macbook Air," Santos said.

J.T. Thomas said he bought sneakers, jeans and T-shirts.

"Just trying to find some good deals, some good savings," Thomas said.

Ashley Fieldhouse, marketing director for South Shore Plaza, said anxious retailers were relieved when Baker signed the law Friday to waive the state's sales tax over the weekend.

Shoppers and retailers welcomed the state's first sales tax holiday in three years. (WBZ-TV)

"We had to wait yesterday for the governor to sign, which he did yesterday, which is great, but a lot of stores in the mall, we were anticipating it," Fieldhouse said.

Most shoppers have no problem waiting in long lines.

Patty Noon said she waited in line to make purchases for "a little less than an hour" and that it's worth it.

JoAnn Pietrasik, assistant manager at Pandora, said business was boosted on Saturday.

"Everybody wants to try and get something and not pay the Massachusetts state tax, so of course everyone comes out," she said.

Khane Grant said he went to the mall to buy more T-shirts and jeans.

"It's all about the fashion, so I might have to keep buying some T-shirts and jeans," Grant said.

The tax-free weekend is welcomed by many merchants around the state who see it as providing a boost during an otherwise slow summer sales period.

Critics say it costs the state badly-needed tax revenue.

The National Federation of Independent Small Businesses is urging shoppers to take advantage of the sales tax holiday by making their purchases at smaller, Main Street stores.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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