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    Rapunzel Barbie Named NRF's 'Hot Toy' for 2002

    WASHINGTON - Without a doubt, Barbie will be this year's hottest toy, according to the findings of a new National Retail Federation (NRF) survey.

    WASHINGTON - Without a doubt, Barbie will be this year's hottest toy, according to the findings of a new National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. The second installment of the NRF 2002 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch for NRF, also indicates that Play Station items will be hot for boys, and that apparel will be the top gift for adults.

    More than 8,500 consumers were polled on the "hot toy" that they planned to purchase for children. An overwhelming 46.9 percent of consumers buying gifts for girls will be on the lookout for Barbie merchandise, especially Rapunzel Barbie.

    Other hot toys for girls include Bratz merchandise (6.1 percent), Dora the Explorer (3.3 percent), and Leap Frog (3.0 percent). Boys' results were more varied, with 9.2 percent of gift-givers scouting for Play Station-related items, 8.0 percent searching for Spiderman, and 5.9 percent chasing down Hot Wheels. Other popular toys for boys included Legos (5.6 percent), Harry Potter (5.4 percent), and Bob the Builder (5.1 percent).

    Though almost 40 percent of consumers began their holiday shopping in October or before, survey results project that most shopping is yet to come. So far, 64.6 percent of consumers have completed less than 10 percent of their shopping. Only 2.7 percent of consumers are finished with their holiday shopping.

    "We have been pleased to see retail sales improving in the fourth quarter," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "Consumers appear to be out of their shells and ready to shop. This bodes well for our holiday sales forecast and we remain hopeful that this will dispel some of the doom and gloom predictions we have been seeing this year."

    NRF continues to project an increase of 4.0 percent in holiday sales this year over last year, bringing estimated revenues of $209.3 billion this holiday season. The first installment of the Consumer Intentions and Actions survey revealed that consumers plan to spend almost $650 this year on holiday gifts, decorations, cards, candy, and food -- up from $632 last holiday.

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