Summer Furniture Sales Should Sizzle

Summer Furniture Sales Should Sizzle
-Major jump in consumer spending predicted-

CHARLESTON, SC - April 23, 1998 - The National Furniture Buying Index vaulted five points this month to 80, the highest mark recorded in the past several years, indicating a strong summer selling season is about to start.

"Just in time for summer, furniture retailers should see solid sales increases as consumers spending for major ticket items will jump," announced Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group.

"For the past couple of months we've seen consumers focus more on discretionary spending, as good economic news continues to come out," he explained. "A record stock market and virtual full employment are just two of the factors influencing shoppers today.

"Also a big force is the resurgence of real estate in many markets, and now consumers are seeing their property values increase. Psychologically, that is a strong influence in consumer financial confidence," Mr. Beemer continued.

"And, there's more. The full impact for the furniture industry is two-fold; not only will you see more shoppers in stores in the next few months, but those shopping will be inclined to spend more, giving retailers a double punch. Rising store traffic and increased average tickets bring prime opportunities for strong profits."

Beemer went on to say that retailers shouldn't just open their doors and expect to capitalize on renewed consumer interest. Those stores advertising name brands using full color, with a good merchandise strategy and exciting display, and having plenty of trained personnel on the sales floor will be the primary winners.

"While consumers are definitely thinking more about buying furniture, you are still dealing with an experienced shopper, who expects a store to deliver on advertised promises, and knows the value of their money," he said. "They won't simply walk in the door and open their wallets. Smart retailers will fare the best in this environment."

America's Research Group has been producing The National Furniture Buying Index for over four years. The Index measures consumers' fUrniture shopping plans for the coming year, based on thousands of interviews with home furnishings consumers each month. Typically, 80 percent of consumers interviewed have a specific furniture item in mind that they intend to purchase in the next year. The Index's mark stands for how many of the 80 percent that name a particular item. Marks at 70 and higher usually indicate strong consumer plans to purchase major household items.

Britt Beemer is the author of the best-selling book, Predatory Marketing, What Everyone Needs to Know to Win Today's Customer, now available in paperback through Broadway Books. He is also chairman of America' s Research Group, a full-service consumer behavior research company based in Charleston, SC, providing research and strategic planning services to leading manufacturers and retailers of consumer goods across North, America. Mr. Beemer was recently selected to be included in Who's Who in American Business Executives.

The furniture Buying Index is determined by America's Research Group telephone interviews with consumers across the country. In an average month, 80 percent of the repondents should be able to answer with a specific furniture item they plan to purchase. The variation from the 80 percent standard accounts for the monthly reading.

Copyright © 1998 by America's Research Group

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