--Shoppers still have furniture on radar screen--

Charleston, SC-- June 1, 2000 - --- The Furniture Buying Index held at the same level as last month, 89, even in the face of end-of-the-school-year events, transitions and activities.

Britt Beemer, chairman and senior retail analyst of America's Research Group, said today that the Index holding at the same level indicates just how strong furniture buying intentions are.

"The end of the school year always brings a major distraction to many furniture-buying households," he added. "Our research shows even with graduations, summer plans, vacations and such, shoppers are still intent on improving the interiors of their homes."

"Some manufacturers are reporting a slight slowdown in orders, but you have to understand that what's slowing is the rate of growth compared to last year, which was a very, very good year. The fact that furniture has not left the consumer radar screen shows just how much strength there is in this current market," Mr. Beemer stated.

"And, what really excites me about this continued strength is the potential for the balance of the year, not necessarily the rest of the second quarter or early third, but if this level holds to the last few months of the year, I believe it will set the stage for a terrific year-end. You could see double-digit sales increases in the 4th quarter compared to 1999," 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. 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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