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    Charleston, SC, November 28, 2005... Bargain hunters loved the early bird specials last Friday, and 91.3% of them were able to take advantage of the big discounts starting early in the morning following Thanksgiving, according to a survey of weekend shoppers conducted by American’s Research Group (ARG).

    Three out of the four consumers, who said in earlier ARG surveys that they planned to shop Thanksgiving weekend, did so. This was the best result since 2002, when Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year.

    “What makes 2005 different is that 73% of Friday’s shoppers were finished by noon – the highest number in the last six years,” said C. Britt Beemer, CEO and founder of ARG. Shoppers also went to very few stores on Friday, according to Beemer, with three in four going to only four stores or less.

    Four out of five shoppers who bought over the weekend saw the item advertised, which motivated them to buy, the ARG survey found. Video games were much more popular this year with 26% of consumers buying video games before other items, compared to 5.6% last year.

    Since gas prices have dropped, 28.7% of consumers say they will spend more, but only 33.5% will spend $100 or more on themselves, compared to over 55% who planned to do so five years ago.

    America’s Research Group’s Christmas sales projection is 3.0% over last year. Beemer accurately forecasted retail sales at Christmas in 11 out of the last 12 years, coming within a half of one percent in each case, according to ARG.

    The research study of 719 consumers nationwide who planned to shop on Thanksgiving weekend was conducted November 25 to 27. The error factor is +/-3.2%. America’s Research Group is the consumer research-focused business development firm that provides clients the insight, strategy and tactics to increase market share. America’s Research Group’s expertise in consumer behavior has made it a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers in the nation for 25 years.

    Contacts: ARG: Britt Beemer, Tel: 843 345 0939
    BBA Communications: Barbara Burns / Eve Edwards
    Tel: 212 486 1140 / 516 859 3402