NEW YORK — Despite a gloomy forecast for retailers this holiday season, the National Retail Federation is predicting a 4 percent uptick in total holiday sales over last year’s registered general merchandise, apparel, furniture, home furnishings, electronics and appliance store (GAF) sales of $201 billion.

According to "The NRF 2002 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey," conducted for the retailers’ group by consumer market intelligence firm Bigresearch, consumers are expected to spend an average of $649, a 2.6 percent increase over last year’s projected spending. Based on the survey plus additional economic indicators, impulse purchasing and additional promotional activity, NRF projects the overall increase to reach 4 percent.

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