--More big ticket items are being put on hold--

Charleston, SC February 1, 2001 - --- The Furniture Buying Index drops another 3 points to a reading of 74 this month. This signifies the second consecutive month a drop was recorded in the Index.

"Sixty-one percent of American households invest in the stock market through mutual funds, IRAs, pension funds, stock purchase plans, stock purchase through brokers or bonds, and many saw their accounts drop 15% to 18% for 2000" said Britt Beemer, chairman of America=s Research Group. "Therefore, many are delaying or postponing purchases like furniture, which they don't have to have immediately."

"Many consumers admitted their shock and dismay but are hoping 2001 will bring a return to their investments growing and recapturing their losses from last year."

"For the last few years Americans were accustomed to unusually high increases on their investment returns and now those consumers are having to face the reality that those stock investments are more like a roller coaster than a rocket ship," 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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