Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Semana Santa a huge boon for retail businesses in border towns

by Alex Cohen and Jacob Margolis | Take Two®

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A family of shoppers from Mexico takes a break in San Antonio’s Shops at La Cantera. During high travel times the mall attracts many people from across the border to shop. Joey Palacios/Fronteras Desk

This week throughout Latin America, people are observing one of the most important religious holidays of the year, Semana Santa, which signals the end of Lent and the nearing of Easter.

Many people in Mexico get time off work during the holiday and they use it by coming to the United States to shop. 

Claudia Cruz from CNET Español has been monitoring the scene along the border in San Diego and she says that she's seeing plenty of families who have come over the border to buy things like electronics.

"I think that Semana Santa in addition to Christmas are two of the major shopping holidays for Latin American's to visit the United States," she said on Take Two. 

Electronics, like the Playstation 4, can be as much as 50 percent cheaper in the U.S., compared to in Mexico, said Cruz. So, upper middle class and upper class families regularly make the pilgrimage to shop and going on vacation.

But why's it so much more expensive to buy things like the Playstation 4 in Mexico?

"It's import tax. Now, a lot of countries want to protect their local economies so they'll charge a higher tax for the importation of goods even if they don't have a strong electronics industry," said Cruz.

It's been a big boost to businesses along the border for a while now too. 

For example, according to the NPD Group in San Antonio, Texas saw about a 40 percent increase in sales in 2013 for that single week.

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