One of the most closely watched holiday forecasts has good news for retailers. The National Retail Federation said it expects holiday retail sales in November and December to increase between 3.6% and 4% for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion. In 2016, up from $655.8 billion last year. The NRF forecast, which excludes automobiles, gasoline and restaurants, would meet or exceed last year’s growth of 3.6% and the five-year average of 3.5%.