What will you do with your refund?

Taxpayers saving, paying off
April 14, 2009 (CHICAGO) Last month retail sales fell, according to the Commerce Department. Tax refunds are expected to be up 15-percent this year. Retailers hope that money will find its way into their stores, but that's not likely, according to some taxpayers.

"I'm putting it in savings because you don't know what is going to happen next," said Kathy Sample.

"I normally would spend it on my birthday. New purse or shoes," said Lagena Cain. "Instead I spent it paying bills."

"Put it towards education. Now we have two kids. Last year we only had one," said Lauren Niimi. "Definitely not a spending spree."

A poll from the Associated Press finds 54 percent will use their refunds to pay bills. That's up from last year and only 5 percent are going on a shopping spree. That's not what local retailers want to hear.

Guise Chic on North Halsted used to take chances on buying cool new designers -- sure that customers would snap up the unique finds at any cost. Not anymore, in order to survive the owners reduced merchandise and brought in less expensive lines.

"Supporting our local retailers, that's what I want to do," said Brad Habansky, Guise Chic

Isabella Fine Lingerie, located on Armitage, hopes big sale signs bring in customers with a few extra tax refund dollars. The store now features a permanent sale area and the general merchandise it's imported it pricey items. Lauren Amerine says she went back to basics and offering affordable items starting at lower prices.

"$32 is our average price point when it used to be $70 to $100 last year," said Amerine, Isabella Fine Lingerie.

Another interesting point in the AP survey, 11-percent say they will spend their refunds on vacations. That's up from last year and could mean a better travel season this summer.

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