--Return of consumer optimism on the horizon--

Charleston, SC February 1, 2002 ---–The Furniture Buying Index jumped four points to a reading of 76 for this month. This continues the trend of the Index increasing since September 2001. Furniture purchases should see strong recovery by the second quarter.

“Last fall we saw evidence of increasing consumer desire to purchase furniture,” said Britt Beemer, Chairman of America’s Research Group. “However, furniture purchases did not peak until January. Now February will continue strong furniture sales making the second quarter this year the time for furniture buying to return to normal,” cites Mr. Beemer.

“Furniture retailers who saw strong January sales will have continued momentum and should show even greater increases in February and into March,” continued Beemer.

Mr. Beemer concludes, “This is good news for a weakened furniture industry due to previously poor consumer buying and the invasion of imports.”

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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