Danville, VA - Back to school shopping is already well underway in Danville.
A National Retail Federation report says parents this year will spend about $26 billion on back to school gear, and folks in our area are getting started early.
Stores across town have geared up for one of the busiest and most profitable times of the year. It's only July, but stores like Target have been selling school supplies for weeks.
"Usually right after the July fourth holiday because they've kind of got the family vacations out of the way and then they're starting to rev up for the school year," said Nancy Knight, the Executive Team Leader at Target.
Both Target and Walmart have school supply lists on hand for all Danville City and Pittsylvania County Schools. The big box stores have always tried to compete for the best deals, but this year, being able to offer the hottest trends is becoming a major factor.
"Notebooks and folders that have different designs, everything from yoga dogs to some of the characters that they see on TV and the movies, so they really can pick out and make it personal to them," Knight said.
Stores in our area say they are also ready to help teachers get ready for school.
Pam Dalton works at Kentuck Elementary School and she loves buying supplies as gifts for the returning teachers.
"Summer's almost over for us," Dalton said. "If you can go ahead and get it done now, it's not as picked over you have more to choose from, so hopefully we'll get some good deals."
The Governor just announced that August 2 through August 4 will be the back to school tax-free weekend.
The program will apply to clothing and shoes $100 or less per item and school supplies $20 or less per item.
For a list of exempt items, you can go to the Department of Taxation's website