No uptick in border-business sales…yet

"It is going to impact the store. The majority of our customers are Mexican."

Though it is just after the buying season, San Diego border businesses are expecting an increase in traffic from the Mexican sales tax hike of 2014.

"As of right now, it's pretty slow. We're not seeing a lot of traffic," said Luis Romero, a supervisor at the Ralph Lauren Factory Store in San Ysidro. Contacted during the first week after the holiday season, Romero said that the store is bringing in about $300 an hour lately, when last year it could take in as much as $3000 per hour.

"There's not a big increase,” Romero said. “Right now we have Mexican shoppers, but not as much money as expected."

The Mexican tax increase that took effect January 1 raised the sales tax from 11 to 16 percent and is expected to boost the number of shoppers who cross into the United States to do their shopping. Passed by the Mexican congress last October, it was contentious legislation that drew criticism in Mexico from the international border area.

Mexican congressman Jaime Bonilla is worried about the impact of the tax on Mexico.

"I was against it because I know it will hurt businesses along the border," Bonilla said in press accounts. "People aren't going to pay the 16 percent. They're just going to buy their items elsewhere."

Bonilla considered the tax increase to be a bad idea while the economy is recovering from the conflicts between drug gangs and the police.

Romero, of course, is looking forward to changes. "It is going to impact the store. The majority of our customers are Mexican."

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