Mexican nationals target U.S. shopping malls for lower sales tax


POSTED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 5:33pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 8:02am

There's just one week left of shopping before Christmas, but if you still need to finish your holiday shopping, you might encounter more than just local shoppers.

Crowds are even larger than normal for this time of year due to the recent sales tax increase in Mexican border states--up from 11 percent to 16 percent--which is nearly double the sales tax in the U.S. 

Now, more international shoppers are crossing the border to cross items off their list at a lower price.

"It's not uncommon to just see them guarding mountains of shopping bags just because of the amount of shopping they have to do while they're visiting McAllen," said Isabel Rodriguez, Director of Marketing for La Plaza Mall.

Local shoppers tend to spend a lot of money during holidays, but nothing compared to Mexican nationals who typically spend thousands of dollars on average since prices in the U.S. are much lower than those in Mexico.

Maritssa Salinas is from Toluca, Mexico and says does her shopping in the U.S. because of the availability and lower cost of items.

"[I spend] about $10,000.  It's also lower tax and we find the newer items also for retail."

Rodriguez explained that the large crowd of international shoppers are vital to the mall's revenue.

"Approximately 40 percent of our shoppers come from Mexico, and so when they come to shop they come on a mission.  They come with lists from family and friends, so their buying power is bigger than that of the local shoppers, so very important for us.  Especially during this time of the year, they really take advantage of the sales going on."

If you've still got some last minute shopping to do, keep in mind that La Plaza Mall will be open longer to accommodate your busy schedule.

"Starting Thursday we are opening at 7 a.m. and closing until 11 p.m., so take advantage of the extended hours to come in and get your holidays shopping done," said Rodriguez.

The mall will also be open on Christmas Eve until 6 p.m. for extreme procrastinators to complete their holiday shopping.



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