Retailers want your rebate check

Jill Barshay Apr 15, 2008


Scott Jagow: If you haven’t filed your taxes – and you’re not doing it today — you need to fill out IRS form 4868. Of course, if you get a six-month extension, your rebate check will also be delayed. The government will be mailing out a hundred billion dollars in checks. And retailers are already plotting ways to take that money away from you. Jill Barshay reports.

Jill Barshay: For the first time, Sony Electronics has dedicated an entire advertising campaign to tax season. Megan Bafford is a marketing executive there. She wants Americans to spend their tax refunds on high definition televisions.

Megan Bafford: We wanted to change and create a new selling season for TVs where there really wasn’t one in the past.

Struggling retailers are praying the tax rebates will be a lifeline in these tough times. Home Depot is asking Americans to “invest” their rebate checks in eco-friendly products. Nick Souleles is a professor at the Wharton School of Business. He said Americans spent two-thirds of the stimulus rebates of 2001.

Nick Souleles: The largest category of spending was apparel and then food and health. This time we’re likely to see more spending on durables.

That’s because this year’s rebate checks — at $1,200 dollars per couple — are twice as large as those in 2001.

In New York, I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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