Furniture Business Still Strong --
February's Furniture Buying Index rises --


Charleston, SC-- February 1, 2000 -The Furniture Buying Index rose one point to 86, continuing a string of 11 consecutive months of high readings as consumer furniture buying intentions remain strong. "This is getting to be a really nice industry, isn't it?" observed America's Research Group chairman and senior retail analyst, Britt Beemer. "We don't see an end, heck, we don't even see a hiccup in shoppers' plans to make big-ticket purchases including furniture in this year." "And, while almost anyone with a good merchandising strategy, coupled with a reasonable marketing plan and satisfactory customer service can see good sales gains in this environment, those retailers who really sharpen their approaches are experiencing record increases over already high levels from '98-'99. There is still room at the top for the best operators to build market share and increase profitability."

Beemer continued, "One thing I would really like to point out is that too often good economic times are blamed on a host of national reasons, and we've got no shortage of those right now with record levels of employment, high wages and high relative wealth. But, don't short-change the ability a merchant has to dictate his/her own destiny." "My two decades of consumer research have shown that consumers are often just sitting by, waiting for the right offer to motivate them. When retailers think people won't buy, they circle the wagons and adopt a siege mentality.

Conversely, when retailers see high consumer optimism, low inflation, high wages and high employment, it becomes a feeding frenzy." "Whether good economies or bad, never forget the power you have to impact behavior through effective merchandising, focused advertising and marketing, and outstanding customer service. Look around at those companies doing that year in and year out, and you will find companies whose performance is tied more to their own efforts, than the national economy," he said.

The Furniture Buying Index is compiled each month by America's Research Group from data gathered by interviewing up to 5,000 consumers. 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.






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