RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina residents who need to stock up on everything from clothing to computers are primed for a weekend where their budgets get a break.

The annual sales tax holiday weekend begins Friday. State director Gregg Thompson of the National Federation of Independent Business says the holiday is like Black Friday, the frenzied shopping day after Thanksgiving. Thompson is encouraging shoppers to focus on small businesses.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that N.C. Department of Revenue estimates show the state will lose about $13.6 million in sales-tax revenue over the three days.

Andy Ellen, president and general counsel of the N.C. Retail Merchants Association, says that instead of pocketing the savings, consumers are likely to spend the extra cash on an additional purchase or treat for the family.

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