--Furniture Buying Index drops four points, pushing it below the 70 point level--

Charleston, SC August 1, 2001 - --- The Furniture Buying Index declines 4 points resulting in a reading of 69 for this month. With the Furniture Buying Index dropping, this increases the likelihood that more furniture retailers will have unsuccessful sales since too few shoppers will be showing up to make sale events successful.

“This is the worst possible time for the Furniture Buying Index to go below 70, because furniture retailers depend on strong Labor Day sales to build momentum for the fall selling season,” cites Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group. “The Furniture Buying Index has held steady above 70 for the last three months which has allowed retailers to have successful events this summer. However, now when more shoppers should be focused towards buying furniture to have for the holidays, their attention is focused elsewhere.”

“September, October and November represent three big furniture buying months for the year as customers get their homes ready for the holidays as well as the winter months in order to make their home environment nicer, because many are forced to be inside to avoid the winter cold.”

Mr. Beemer concludes, “tax rebates checks, which should have been very helpful to the furniture industry, are not going to be spent at furniture stores and will more likely be spent on smaller ticket items sold during back-to-school sales.”

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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