By  on December 8, 2011

NEW YORK — The early kickoff of the holiday season has mass merchant retailers expecting the best Christmas in more than five years. The big unknown is what mark beauty will leave on the final tally.

Some retailers peg early estimates at 6 to 8 percent gains over last year, across all nonpharmacy categories. While electronics and apparel were the most sought-after purchases over Black Friday weekend, buyers think fragrances, cosmetics and personal care sets that can be given as gifts will rev up in the weeks leading to Christmas and Hanukkah, which overlap this year.

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