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Grocery is the #1 holiday purchase! Research shows where consumers are spending this holiday season

Grocery is the #1 holiday purchase! Research shows where consumers are spending this holiday season

With all the hype and Black Friday campouts at Best Buys and Toys R Us, you'd guess that the majority of holiday shopping budgets go to purchases like electronics, toys and clothing. But according to new research, the biggest share what comes out of your holiday wallet actually goes to ... groceries and restaurants.

New data from Card-Linked Marketing leader Cardlytics -- collected from millions of U.S. households over the past two years -- shows what consumers actually spend their money on during the holiday season.  When it comes to holiday shopping Americans are spending 24% of their budget on groceries followed by restaurants and apparel.  Toy purchases are actually at the bottom of the list.

The Top 10 Share of Wallet (see link/attached for graphics and pie charts for 2011 and 2012 holiday spending):

1. Groceries - 24%

Radiance Solar completes 1-megawatt solar power installation at Shaw Industries manufacturing plant

Radiance Solar completes 1-megawatt solar power installation at Shaw Industries manufacturing plant

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Radiance Solar has completed one of the Southeast’s largest commercial solar photovoltaic installations at Shaw Industries’ carpet tile manufacturing plant.

The one megawatt system will produce 1.4 million kilowatt hours of power annually. Feeding into the Georgia Power electric grid, Shaw will use this renewable energy to help power its carpet tile manufacturing facility in Cartersville.

The roof-mounted system includes 3,696 Solar World, U.S.-made panels and 36 SMA Tripower 3-phase inverters. An added feature to the monitoring system incorporates a large screen monitor in the building that displays real-time energy production.

With a commitment to improving energy efficiency and to adopting renewable energy when possible, Paul Murray, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs at Shaw says, “Solar is a mature, reliable power source, and the economics made this project a viable, long-term investment.”

SweetWater's holiday brew named to nation's top 10

ATLANTA -- SweetWater's annual holiday brew has been named to BeerInfo's list of the top ten Christmas beers in the nation for this year.

SweetWater Festive Ale is a flavorful holiday beer, spiced with cinnamon and mace to get the holiday spirit in high gear.

BeerInfo describes it as a "strong ale brewed with generous amounts of rich malt, coupled with a taint of cinnamon and mace to keep you warm and toasted all winter long."

The limited-run brew is on sale in 6-packs at local stores, and will around through the remainder of the holiday season.

BeerInfo's annual list looks at craft and microbrews from across the nation. A number of the beers they have included in their list are available at retailers across Metro Atlanta.

The entire list:

Bill Gates-owned group buys Midtown's Four Seasons Hotel

ATLANTA -- Cascade Investment, the investment arm of Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, now owns Atlanta's Four Seasons Hotel.

Cascade bought the 244-room Four Seasons from Host Hotels & Resorts, which owned it since 1998. Host Hotels sold Four Seasons and about 99,000-square-feet of office space in the building for $62 million, the company said Nov 21.

Cascade did not disclose the price.

Four Seasons is one of the strongest luxury hotel brands in the world, and the hotel will continue to be managed by Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The Four Seasons Hotel occupies the first 19 floors of a 54-story tower on 14th street between Peachtree and West Peachtree streets, the heart of Midtown, the city's arts and entertainment district.

Atlanta company buying Carl's Jr., Hardee's

ATLANTA -- Atlanta's Roark Capital Group is buying a majority stake in CKE Inc., the company that operates more than 1,400 Carl's Jr. restaurants and nearly 2,000 Hardee's with total revenues of $3.9 billion.

Terms of the deal were not announced. CKE is currently majority owned by investment firm Apollo Global Management LLC. CKE's senior management will keep a minority stake in the California-based company.

Roark is an Atlanta-based private equity firm that's bought many other restaurant concepts including Arby's, Cinnabon, Carvel Ice Cream, Corner Bakery and Moe's Southwest Grill. The CKE deal will take its franchise brand portfolio to 27 companies with more than 15,000 locations and $15 billion in total revenues.

RELATED | Meet Kat Cole, Cinnabon's 35-year-old president

LittlePINKBook.com invites women to join conversation Nov. 12 with top female executives

LittlePINKBook.com invites women to join conversation Nov. 12 with top female executives

ATLANTA -- LittlePINKBook.com, America’s No. 1 digital platform for career women, will host its 9th Annual Fall Empowerment Event on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Top-level female executives will share their experiences with rising through the corporate ranks to an audience of like-minded, successful women motivated to get there.  

Executives on the panel will be asked questions from the event’s moderator, Carol Costello, anchor at CNN Newsroom, Little PINK Book’s CEO and Founding Editor Cynthia Good as well as attendees. Panelists include:

UHY taps Lauren Oxley as Consulting Manager in Management & Technology Consulting group

UHY taps Lauren Oxley as Consulting Manager in Management & Technology Consulting group

ATLANTA -- UHY LLP Georgia today announced the appointment of Lauren Oxley as a Consulting Manager in the firm’s Management & Technology Consulting department, with a focus in Enterprise Optimization. Based in the Atlanta office, she will be serving UHY clients nationwide, bringing exceptional experience in management and professional consulting in the technology, media and telecommunications industries. She reports to UHY LLP’s Managing Director in the southeast, Frank Fenello.

“Lauren Oxley adds great depth and strength to our management consulting group, particularly her media and telecom experience,” said Frank Fenello, managing director for UHY LLP in the Southeast. “Not only does she have skills that our clients will love, her international work experience gives her an added perspective that provides greater strength to our team."

Oxley’s professional skills include: