--Consumers are now in the mood to spend money on big-ticket items--

Charleston, SC March 1, 2002 ---–The Furniture Buying Index is up two points to a reading of 78 for this month. This continues the slow trend of the Index’s increasing figures since September 2001. The furniture industry will see consumers buying big-ticket items this next quarter.

“Some consumers cite improvement in the stock market as a reason for this recent buying confidence,” said Britt Beemer, Chairman of America’s Research Group. “Others are pleased with the war on terrorism, while some feel there will be no more increased job layoffs,” continues Mr. Beemer.

Beemer concludes “if furniture signals the end of the recession, then the second quarter of this year is definitely going to show strong retail shopping across all categories.”

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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