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El Paso businesses see more Mexican shoppers after Mexico tax hike
By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- Shoppers from Mexico flooded the downtown shopping district Thursday afternoon.
The increased traffic comes after the Mexican government raised the sales tax from 11 to 16 percent.
The tax went into effect on Jan. 1.
On the second day of the new year, stores in downtown El Paso already started to see an increase in shoppers from Mexico.
"We can see more cars passing by, the parking is already full," said Anahi Castillo, with JJF Shoe Warehouse.
Some Mexican shoppers KFOX 14 spoke to said the sales tax hike in Mexico is to high.
"In Chihuahua their taxes are higher than Juarez, so we have to pay more," said Maria Rivas, a shopper from Chihuahua. "The clothes over there are not good, so it's better over here."
Rivas said she was only coming to El Paso every six months, but after the tax hike in Mexico she said she'll be back every month.
According to the El Paso Central Business Association, 85-95 percent of the customers in the downtown shopping district are Mexican nationals.
The CBA added that Mexican shoppers make up 15-20 percent of the business at shopping malls and retail giants across the Borderland.
El Paso CBA president George Salom said a majority of downtown businesses expect a rise in sales to start soon if they haven't already.
"It's still too early to tell. Were right out of the Christmas holidays and so people are spent, we expect that to continue hopefully in through the summer and the whole year," Salom said.
But even after the buzz dies down, Salom said downtown shops can always count on Mexican shoppers to make their largest purchases in El Paso.
"This is because your peso and your dollar go further than they do over there," Salom said. "That makes a difference, particularly to the working class."
JJF Shoe Warehouse in the downtown shopping district said they haven't seen sales jump. However, they expect to see business boom in the coming weeks.
"It's going to benefit us, because we're going to have more people and more sales," Castillo said.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank, shoppers from Mexico spend $4.5 million a year in Texas border cities.