--Summer events and plans take front stage--


Charleston, SC-- July 1, 2000 - --- The Furniture Buying Index dropped 3 points, to a reading of 86 this month. The drop is the first since December of 1999.

"Families are really getting into summer now,"said Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group. "There was a noticeable bump in focus from improving the interiors of their homes over the past month, and most indicated they were intent on having some summertime fun!"

"It's not uncommon to see some seasonal effects on home furnishings shopping, the summer months definitely are susceptible to that. We had hoped furniture shopping would hold steady, but you can't be surprised to see a small downward move at this time."

"We are still well above the 80 level on the Index, continuing a string of very strong months dating back to April of 1999. That is very favorable for the industry," Mr. Beemer stated.

"At this point, retailers must be looking ahead to position themselves for the critical Labor Day selling season. All merchandising, marketing and advertising plans must be a part of priming the public for that key weekend. Not to ignore current opportunities, but the Labor Day weekend is when shoppers generally return to a home-interior mindset, making it a great time to set the tone for the balance of the year. I still expect a strong 4th quarter for the year 2000," Mr. Beemer concluded,"and a terrific Labor Day weekend will kick it off right."

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 or P. Michael Kelly

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