--Index rises 2 points to a reading of 72, the second consecutive increase in the Index--

Charleston, SC January 1, 2002 ---–The Furniture Buying Index climbed two points to a reading of 72 for this month. Keep in mind this is the second increase that has been recorded in the Index since September.

“It is a positive sign to see that consumers’ interest in buying home furnishings continues improving, signaling the beginning of an economic recovery,” cites Britt Beemer, chairman of America=s Research Group.

“Consumers willing to look at buying furniture must be looking at their own future and job security in a more positive light,” says Beemer.

Mr. Beemer concludes, “retailers should be ecstatic that the Furniture Buying Index has risen above the 70 point level, meaning more advertising promotions will be successful in bringing in more shoppers.”

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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