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The National Retail Federation (NRF) 2003 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey found that the average consumer plans to spend $671.89 this holiday season, up from 2002 when consumers spent an average of $648.85.

The survey also found that 92.2 percent of consumers plan to celebrate Christmas, 5.8 percent will celebrate Hanukkah, and 1.6 percent will celebrate Kwanzaa.

On average, consumers plan to spend $518.44 on gifts this year--$393.69 on gifts for family members, $73.27 on friends, $17.16 on co-workers, and $34.32 on other gifts. Consumers also plan to spend $34.18 on decorations, $25.79 on greeting cards and postage, $79.42 on candy and food, and $14.06 on flowers. This year, more than half of consumers (50.8%) also plan to take advantage of sales and promotional items to purchase non-gift items for themselves, with the average consumer purchasing additional items planning to spend $146.69.

NRF projects that holiday sales will increase 5.7 percent this year to $217.4 billion, which would be the largest increase since 1999.
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