--Consumers remain cautious about what to buy next--

Charleston, SC-- January 1, 2001 - --- The Furniture Buying Index fell to a reading of 77 for the first month of 2001. This represents the first decline in three monthsas consumers are hesitant about their next purchase.

"Consumers have not decided where they plan to spend their money in the first quarter of the year, so some furniture purchases may remain on hold" said Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group.

"Retailers will need more agressive price points and less reliance on credit promotions to drive shoppers during January clearance sales" Mr. Beemer concluded.

The Furniture Buying Index is compiled each month by America's Research Group from interviews with 5,000-8,000 consumers across the country. In a typical month, 80 percent of the consumers interviewed can name a specific furniture item they intend to buy. The Index's mark signifies what percent of the benchmark 80% actually have a particular item in mind.

Britt Beemer is chairman of America's Research Group, a full-service consumer behavior research company based in Charleston, SC. ARG provides research and strategic planning services to leading manufacturers and retailers of consumer goods across North America.

For more information call:
C. Britt Beemer

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