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'Mega Monday' expected to set records for shopping, returns

ATLANTA -- It's the biggest gift return day of the season, and experts predict "Mega Monday" could be as big as Cyber Monday or Black Friday.

Retailers slashed prices to entice customers already heading to stores to exchange gifts and hunt for after-Christmas bargains.

"Thirty-five percent more people will be returning this year, than last year," said Janice Lieberman, Consumer Correspondent for the Today Show. "For every dollar spent during the holiday, almost ten cents of it is returned." 

Some store make returns much easier than others. 

Sears may be the number one easy return store because they not only readily accept returns, but they extended their return window to 120 days through this holiday season.

JC Penny in Forest Park and the local organization, NAPO, team up and donate to Soles4Souls

JC Penny in Forest Park and the local organization, NAPO, team up and donate to Soles4Souls

Forest Park - Today at 10:00 am thousands of shoes will be loaded onto a truck and delivered to the offices of the non-profit, Soles4Souls.

Members of the Georgia chapter of National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) help victims of natural disasters around the world.   President of NAPO-GA and Professional Organizer for The Orderly Touch, Sherry Lee Denton says, “Soles4Souls has given me an opportunity to connect with the communities I serve.  This effort by our NAPO-Georgia chapter resulted in us being part of something bigger than our local chapter, a greater camaraderie of our members, as well as providing footwear to populations in need. "

Soles4Souls, Inc (www.Soles4Souls.org) started as a simple idea to help the victims of Southeast Asia recover from the 2004 tsunami and has become the largest distributor of free footwear in the world.  

First Data: Consumers held back on spending until end of Nov.

First Data: Consumers held back on spending until end of Nov.

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- Consumers knew better deals were coming on Black Friday and held back on spending until the end of November, according to First Data's latest SpendTrend report.

VIDEO: Black Friday brawl at Ellijay Walmart

The privately held Sandy Springs-based electronic payments company reported year-over-year dollar volume growth was up 7.3 percent in November, down from October's 9.4 percent jump.

Dollar volume growth was 8.1 percent, while transaction growth was 6.1 percent in November.

Sweet deal: Planet Smoothie sold to Tasti D-Lite

Sweet deal: Planet Smoothie sold to Tasti D-Lite

ATLANTA -- Tasti D-Lite has purchased Planet Smoothie for an undisclosed amount.

Atlanta-based Planet Smoothie sells smoothies and all-natural snacks at more than 100 stores, mostly in Georgia and Florida.

In April, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported Planet Smoothie generated $25 million in revenue in 2010, down from $26 million in 2009. Its parent company, Petrus Brands LLC, said at the time it was not giving up on the brand and planned to expand by 10 to 15 stores in 2011.

RELATED: Marble Slab, MaggieMoo's merge

Franklin, Tenn.-based Tasti D-Lite is a frozen dessert chain that caters to health-conscious consumers. The chain has international locations in Mexico, United Arab Emirates and Australia.

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

State tax credit program raises $50M for scholarships

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Revenue stamped its approval on $50 million in donations under the Georgia Scholarship Tax Credit Program.

The program lets people and businesses get tax credit for donations to scholarships for Georgia children to attend private schools.

Fifty million dollars is the most allowed under the program. In 2012, the statewide cap on donations will increase by the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index until 2018.

Individuals can donate up to $1,000, while married couples have a donation cap of $2,500. Corporations can donate up to 75 percent of their state income tax liability.

The American Federation for Children estimated more than 6,000 students last year got scholarships to attend private schools through the program.

Best out-of-the-ordinary Halloween events around Atlanta you don't want to miss

Best out-of-the-ordinary Halloween events around Atlanta you don't want to miss

Fernbank BOO-seum Trick-or-Treat

Saturday, October 29 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Get ready to have a screaming (in delight) good time! For one day only, Fernbank Museum is becoming Fernbank BOO-seum. Little Beat Music, Inc. will provide family-friendly tunes and face painting will inspire those who didn’t quite finish their costumes. Plus, enjoy a frightening-ly fun Halloween party featuring games, crafts, hands-on activities and special treats for kids in costumes.* (*Treats available while supplies last.)

$10 million in low interest student loans up for grabs

$10 million in low interest student loans up for grabs

ATLANTA -- State officials have re-opened the pool for $10 million in low interest student loans. 

Lawmakers had set aside $20 million to help families after an overhaul of the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship took effect this summer.

Only about 5,200 students applied for the loans during the initial application period, which ended in July.

The Georgia Student Finance Authority has now re-opened the application process for the remaining $10 million in available loans.

Students have until Oct. 31 to apply for the Student Access Loan Program. 

For applications and details, visit GAcollege411's website.