Hurricane Supply Sales Soar as Arlene Approaches

Generators have been the hottest sellers during Florida’s first ever sales tax holiday on hurricane supplies.

It wasn’t even lunchtime yet, and one retailer had already sold 40 generators since their doors opened Thursday morning. Customer Richard Duley says the tax savings sold him. He has relatives who lost power for weeks last year, so he decided to splurge.

Richard says, “The sales tax holiday absolutely motivated me. It’s a huge savings, plus with the Lowe’s rebate for $70, it’s the cheapest ever for generators.”

Lowe’s has sold more than 25,000 generators in Florida since June 1. Home Depot won’t share its numbers, but you figure comparable sales, that’s 50,000 generators just for the two retailers.

The tax breaks cover other basic hurricane supplies too, like gas cans, batteries, flashlights and plastic tarps, but it’s generators the stores are having trouble keeping in stock.

Tim Hutchinson of Home Depot says, “We’ve been shifting from the northern home depots, and we’ve just about deplenished their stock, and we have a few other orders coming down. We’re trying to take everything we can from every manufacturer.”

With the first tropical storm of the season already bearing down on the Gulf coast, sales are likely to pick up as we head into the weekend.

The state representative who sponsored the tax holiday bill this year says he'll do it again next year and hopes it'll include more items.