--Consumer plans to buy furniture rise again--

Charleston, SC-- May 1, 2000 - --- Rising buying intentions among consumers have boosted the Furniture Buying Index again, gaining a point to a reading of 89.

"Our research still shows that strong furniture shopping is ahead,"announced Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group.

"We are continuing a great run of sales from last year, and at this point nothing stands in the way of a terrific summer season," he added. "Our research findings from other retail industries confirm the high consumer optimism."

"I am particularly excited about the upcoming Memorial Day sales weekend. I think those retailers who promote well and merchandise well should be prepared for what could be a huge weekend. I would not be at all surprised to see sales increases of 20% or higher over last year at this time," Mr. Beemer stated.

"And, it is interesting to look back a year and see those analysts who were crying about the coming year, how wrong they have been compared to our own Index, which is based on direct consumer input. The customer is always right," Mr. Beemer observed.

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. This month's reading, 89, means that some 71% of American households have definite plans to purchase furniture.

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 or P. Michael Kelly

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