NEW YORK — As the U.S. beauty industry braces for what’s expected to be a disappointing finish to the holiday selling season, NPD BeautyTrends is projecting that the overall prestige fragrance business will suffer a 3 percent decline for the year.

Following a 2 percent decline last year, 2002 is expected to be the second year prestige fragrance sales have dropped since NPD began tracking the business in the mid-Nineties, according to the firm. Within a 3 percent decline projected for this year, men’s is seen as the bright spot. Although it won’t top $1 billion as a category in 2002, men’s is expected to rise 2 percent for the year, while women’s is expected to drop 5 percent, according to Timra Carlson, vice president of NPD BeautyTrends, who spoke at a Fragrance Foundation think tank Wednesday morning.

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