Shopping guide for expat in New York City

New York City, which is considered to be one of the major fashion capitals of the world, is a shopper’s Mecca. The city is peppered with various kinds of stores that sell a wide array of merchandise, from both domestic and international sources. In fact it is a well known and accepted fact that a brand has to find acceptance in the Big Apple if it hopes to become a household name all over the world.

Retail establishments are found all over the city and range in type from department stores to branches of national brands to quirky independent boutiques and discount stores that sell all kinds of paraphernalia. Most of the well known domestic and international brands also think it is necessary to have a presence in the many well known shopping districts of Manhattan as this borough is a tourist magnet which is visited by hordes every year. As a result, shoppers in New York are spoilt for choice as they usually have a large number of choices available for any purchase that they need to make.

However, due to the fact that space is limited in Manhattan, real estate in this borough is extremely expensive. Prices in Manhattan generally seem to be higher than elsewhere as retailers have to pay much higher rents for their stores that are located here. Moreover the city also imposes a sales tax on several goods and services. This tax rate 4% but then it is clubbed together with the New York State sales and use tax of 4% and the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District surcharge of 0.375% for a total sales tax component of 8.375%. This tax is not usually listed on the price tag but added to your receipt at the register. This, at first, can be quite disconcerting for someone who is not used to the tax not being a component of the listed price.

The list of goods and services which are subject to this sales tax can be found at the mayor’s website at ( Initially even clothing and footwear were subject to this tax but this was repealed in 2007. However, New York City’s Mayor is now proposing to bring back this tax on clothing as well as increasing the tax rate to 8.875% to combat falling state revenues.

Most stores in New York City are open seven days a week; they usually open for business between 9 am and 10 am in the morning and close at around 9pm in the evenings on weekdays. On weekends stores traditionally have shorter trading hours as they tend to open later in the day and shut earlier as well.

New Yorkers lead extremely busy lives so internet shopping is widely prevalent in the city. Internet stores are not governed by timing and people in New York who are always pressed for time tend to shop a lot on the Internet. As nowadays most retail establishments have e-commerce websites and offer incentives like free shipping and returns, Internet shopping has grown to be an important shopping trend especially in New York City whose residents often don’t find the time to make to the shops before closing time.