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CHRISTMAS LOOKS MERRY FOR RETAILERS;TOYS, ELECTRONICS, CASUAL APPAREL AMONG PREDICTED BIG SELLERS

 NEW YORK, Nov. 30 ~PRNewswire~ -- Based on better-than-expected sales in September and October, the National Retail Federation is predicting the best Christmas selling season in three years, with up to a 4 percent increase in sales predicted for the Thanksgiving to Christmas period.
 "Retail sales for the last two months were so good that we have revised our estimates to an anticipated 4 percent increase for Christmas over last year," says Jack Schultz, president of the National Retail Federation. "Although not a huge increase, it does represent a significant improvement over the poor sales of the previous three years. Because of the current zero inflation rate, the consumer will find good value in general merchandise at last year's prices."
 The average American family spends about $400 on holiday gifts; and this year's low level of inflation, plus retailers' value-oriented merchandise strategies, should help those dollars go far for savvy shoppers. Many stores are already prepared for a competitive, promotional season, which again, should result in good buys for customers. "However, inventories will be tighter than ever, and consumers should shop early for their Christmas gifts as desired items will sell out fast," suggests Mr. Schultz.
 As always, toy items rank high on the list of what many retailers expect to be hot sellers for Christmas 1992. Here is a sampling of what several stores predict to be best-sellers:
 -- For the kids, Kmart expects to sell a lot of Voice Command Fire Trucks, Trolls, Barbie dolls (in Talking, Sparkle Eyes, Rollerblade, and Totally Hair versions), My Bundle Baby, My Potty Baby, and Baby Loves to Talk. Other strong sellers will include "Beauty and the Beast" video, Nintendo Street Fighter II, all types of CD players, beaded seat cushions for cars, collectible plush holiday bears, leather gloves, leather purses, and velour separates from the retailer's Jaclyn Smith collection.
 -- Toys "R" Us also foresees big sales for Baby Loves to Talk, as well as Rollerblade Baby, Magic Potty Baby, Puppy Surprise, Voice Command Hook & Ladder and Monster Trucks, Batmobile, and GI Joe Hall of Fame Figure I and II. For the infant and preschool set, Dino Roarrs, See 'N Say Storymaker, and Spin Around Carousel rank high; with popular games being Shark Attack Bowling, Don't Wake Daddy, and Tournament Table. Other hot items predicted by the toy chain are Beauty and the Beast and Batman Slumber Tents, 20-inch Flexor and Mud-Slinger bikes, and GEN Sonic II video game software.
 -- Tracking early sales from its 1992 Wish Book catalog, Sears reports popular Christmas items include Barbie dolls, Batman children's costume, diecast NASCAR stock cars in a commemorative set, new mutating Ninja Turtle figures, and GI Joe. For adults, early shoppers have been snapping up "Super Buy" camcorders, available in VHS, VHS-C or 8mm, for $699.99, as well as a Kluge black tweed luggage set, AT&T video phone, acoustic and electric guitars and electronic keyboards, and child's headrest for travel. In apparel, top sellers are men's jackets of sand- washed silk or soft leather, and women's turtleneck, cardigan and cowlneck sweaters paired with stonewashed cotton denim jeans.
 To keep the Christmas spirit in your Christmas shopping, the National Retail Federation recommends that you shop early and during midweek off hours, wear comfortable shoes, and decide in advance on your budget and stick to it.
 -0- 11~30~92
 ~CONTACT: Cathy Callegari of Cathy Callegari Public Relations~Communications, 914-723-8633~


CO: National Retail Federation ST: New York IN: REA SU: ECO

PS-LR -- NYFNS1 -- 3989 11~30~92 07:30 EST
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