--Furniture Buying Index up 2 points --
Charleston, SC-- April 1, 2000 - --- The Furniture Buying Index
climbed to 88 as signs of strong consumer spending in home furnishings
continue to abound.
"Nothing seems to be slowing consumers down,"marveled
Britt Beemer, senior retail strategist at America's Research Group.
"Furniture sales are being driven by optimism and buying power,
a strong combination in this good economic climate, and buying better
quality furniture is attracting more and more shoppers. I can't
remember when I've seen more consumers willing to pay more for better
merchandise than now."
"It would probably take a combination of really significant
events to change the present course," Beemer continued, "It
would take more than just climbing inflation, more than just higher
gas prices, more than only major layoffs, but the combination of
these happenings could likely slow the flow of cash being put down
on major ticket items like furniture."
"This should be an excellent time to step customers up to
better quality goods and higher price points," he added. "People
are in a mindset to put nicer things in their homes, and a floor
salesperson genuinely interested in helping people get what they
want could see increases of up to $200 or more on sofas and bedroom
groups if they have the merchandise to sell and are trained in the
story to tell."
Beemer went on to say that home furnishings retailers in touch
with their markets have a better than average chance of seeing solid
gains again in the year 2000."
I would not be surprised to see the industry gain 7-8% from last
year, while quality retailers experience double-digit growth,"
he concluded.America's Research Group publishes the Furniture Buying
Index each month based on opinion data from consumer interviews.
The Index's reading shows how many consumers have a specific furniture
purchase in mind.
Britt Beemer is founder and chairman of America's Research Group,
a full-service consumer behavior research company with corporate
offices in Charleston, SC. Clients include leading manufacturers
and retailers such as Thomasville, Broyhill and Lane Furniture,
Sealy Mattress, Jordan's and Art Van Furniture.
For more information call:
C. Britt Beemer or P. Michael Kelly
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