NEWS STORIES

Online Sales Hurts Local RetailersSubmitted: 12/11/2012

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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RHINELANDER - You could spend hundreds on a ring for your sweetheart at a local Northwoods jeweler.

Or you could head online and skip the sales tax.

Brick-and-mortar shops are facing more challenges from internet retailers - and it's hurting their business.

The Wisconsin Jewelers Association estimates that internet Christmas shopping will increase 20 percent over last year.

That often means savings for customers, as compared to shopping in person at a local store.

Jeff Wickersham co-owns Wickersham Jewelry, a family business with stores in Rhinelander, Rothschild, and Marshfield.

"They obviously don't have the overhead that we do, so they don't have to have a little more margin. They can work off of four of five percent margin, or ten percent margin," Wickersham says.

But besides the overhead like rent and utilities online retailers usually don't charge sales tax.

Local retailers have to add 5.5% of tax to sales.

That not only can hurt their business, but the Northwoods community as well.

"The taxes that are generated here in our community go to snow plowing, your garbage removal, lights out on the streets, those are all paid by our taxes," Wickersham says.

Wickersham told us in the last four our five years, internet sales have really taken a dent from both his business and local tax revenue.


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