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Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

Back to school surprise: Weekend roadwork canceled

(WXIA) -- This weekend will be a holiday for Georgia families in more ways than one.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has suspended construction-related lane closures on all major interstates and highways within five miles of malls and shopping districts.

This will allow parents and students to enjoy the tax-free shopping weekend without the added stress of road delays.

"The sales tax holiday is an opportunity for Georgians to save a little money during these challenging economic times," GDOT Commissioner Keith Golden said. "The department is glad to offer some relief from lane closures as families prepare for school."

11Alive Ways to Save reporter Valerie Hoff has some of the best tax-free weekend deals. Find out how to get the most bang for your buck.

Kroger raises $232K for Children's Miracle Network

Kroger raises $232K for Children's Miracle Network

(WXIA) -- Kroger customers in metro Atlanta recently showed that they are a charitable bunch.

During the final two weeks in May, shoppers raised $232,000 for the Children's Miracle Network through the Miracle Balloons promotion.

For only $1, a customer could purchase a paper balloon to hang in a local Kroger. All proceeds from the fundraiser went directly to Children's Miracle Network hospitals and health networks, such as Children's Hospital of Georgia in Augusta and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

"Kroger customers consistently show their care for our communities by constantly going above and beyond with their charitable donations," Glynn Jenkins, spokesperson for Kroger's Atlanta division, said in a release. "Through their support of the Miracle Balloons program, we can continue to make a difference in the lives of children."

Oprah Chai Tea arrives at local Teavana stores

Oprah Chai Tea arrives at local Teavana stores

(WXIA) -- Metro Atlanta Teavana locations are now selling Oprah Winfrey's special blend of tea.

The media icon teamed up with Starbucks to create Teavana Oprah Chai Tea, a blend of loose-leaf black tea and rooibos with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves.

Employees of the Teavana stores at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead and North Point Mall in Alpharetta celebrated the arrival of Teavana Oprah Chai Tea Tuesday. It is available in loose-leaf format at Teavana stores and as a handcrafted latte at Starbucks locations.

9 retailers closing the most stores

9 retailers closing the most stores

(USA TODAY) -- Brick-and-mortar retailers have been suffering from slow economic activity for years, as well as from increased competition from online retailers. The rise in store closings is a prominent sign of their struggles. Weakened companies cannot afford the real estate and personnel costs that go along with supporting hundreds of unprofitable locations. The clearest proof of the problem was RadioShack's recent decision to close more than 1,000 stores.

RadioShack is hardly alone. During that last several years Gap has closed 20% of its locations. Even Macy's, which has forecast strong earnings and is considered the most successful of the mid-market retailers, closed stores recently.

School fundraiser is as easy as selling kids' used clothes

School fundraiser is as easy as selling kids' used clothes

ATLANTA -- There's a new option for parents looking for a way to help their child's school while disposing of clothes those children no longer wear.

It's called Schoolsa Stitch, and Katie Busch admits she's a fan of the fundraiser as she checks her daughter's closet for things to give away.

"This is a really nice spring dress that I know she's going to be growing out of before next spring and just a couple other things. They want gently used clothes," said Busch, a mother of two. 

Busch will take the gently used items and sell them on the Schoola Stitch website.

GO TO SCHOOLA STITCH WEBSITE

"It's great the way that they have it (the website) organized by type of clothing, brand of clothing, color, price," said Busch as she browses the site.

Macy's to lay off 2,500 workers, close 5 stores nationally

Macy's to lay off 2,500 workers, close 5 stores nationally

NEW YORK -- Retailer Macy's will lay off approximately 2,500 workers as it restructures its business, it said Wednesday afternoon.

The layoffs and other cost-saving changes are expected to to generate savings of about $100 million beginning this year, the company said in a press release.

"We have identified some specific areas where we can improve our efficiency without compromising our effectiveness in serving the evolving needs of our customers," said CEO Terry Lundgren in that press release.

The retailer will close five Macy's stores in early spring 2014. The stores that will close are in Fiesta Mall, Mesa, Ariz.; Metcalf South Shopping Center, Overland Park, Kansas; Jamestown Mall, Florissant, Mo., Medley Centre, Irondequoit, N.Y.; and Fashion Place Mall, Murray, Utah.

It will also combine its Midwest Region with its North Region to create a new North Central Region.

Macy's has eight stores in metro Atlanta.

Pizza Hut offering 50% off online orders

Pizza Hut offering 50% off online orders

(WXIA) -- Twenty years ago, Pizza Hut delivered its first-ever pizza to be ordered over the Internet.

Now, the pizza chain is celebrating this milestone by offering a half-off online deal for customers.

Medium and large Pizza Hut pizzas will be 50 percent off when ordered online now through Jan. 10.

Pizza Hut has also launched Hut Lovers, a loyalty program that provides members with exclusive deals.

A large pepperoni, mushroom and extra cheese Pizza Hut pizza was the first physical good ever purchased online, according to Pizza Hut chief marketing officer Carrie Walsh.

"We want to celebrate the fact that before consumers could buy books, clothes, music or vacation packages via the Internet, they could place an online order for a Pizza Hut pizza," Walsh said in a statement. "We're doing so by giving back to our customers who have helped us lead the way with digital innovations over the last 20 years."