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    EXCLUSIVE TO DSN/Retailing Today

    Charleston, SC – Family vacations, automobiles and improvements to the home are consumers’ top picks for 2003 spending according to America’s Research Group’s Consumer Mind Reader ™ survey.

    When asked what they expected to be their top purchase in 2003, 9.8 percent of the 1,003 consumers interviewed nationwide named trips and travel. Another 9.1 percent listed cars, while 8.3 percent said home improvements would be their biggest expenditure.

    Britt Beemer, founder and chairman of America’s Research Group, noted that an unusually high number of Americans may not be expecting to make big purchases at all during 2003.

    “When we have asked this question in previous years, we ordinarily see 14 percent who haven’t yet decided. This year the “Don’t Know” answer was 27.2 percent, which is indicative of the soft economy we face,” he said.

    Automobiles have traditionally led the field in large annual expenditures, but Beemer said the low interest financing plans offered on new cars may have already taken many consumers out of the car marketplace.

    Home improvements were followed by appliances at 5.9 percent, furniture at 5.8 percent and computers at 3.5 percent.

    America’s 2003 Wish List:
    What would you guess will be your biggest purchase in 2003?

    Car--- 9.1%
    Home Improvements--- 8.3%
    Appliances--- 5.9%
    Furniture--- 5.8%
    Computers--- 3.5%
    DVD players--- 3.4%

    America’s Research Group, based in Charleston, SC, conducted the survey, which included telephone interviews with 1,003 shoppers across the country. With five million consumers interviewed since its founding in 1979, America’s Research Group follows consumer shopping habits more than any other research firm in the nation. More detailed information is available on the America’s Research Group website at http://www.predatory.com.

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