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    Charleston, SC, November 19, 2009... Over three quarters (77.4%) of American consumers feel pressured from debt this holiday season, according to a Consumer Mind Reader™ survey released today by America’s Research Group (ARG) and UBS. Of these, 65.3% say they will spend less this Christmas making a gloomy prospect for retailers.

    "Job fears are at the highest level we have seen at ARG in 30 years of talking with consumers," says C. Britt Beemer CEO and founder of ARG. In fact, 37% of consumers say they have seen layoffs at work, 35.3% expect to see layoffs, and 43.9% do not feel secure in their jobs. "Americans have no choice but to buy less today," he added.

    Earlier this month, Beemer predicted that retail sales will be down 2.9% compared to last year. His predictions have been accurate within a half of 1% over the past 17 of 18 holiday seasons.

    The ARG consumer confidence number is at a very low 46.1%, according to Beemer. Last year it measured over 80%.

    The number of consumers postponing big purchases is up to 16.9% this year from 11.7% at the same time last year.

    The ARG/UBS Consumer Mind Reader™ survey consisted of 1,000 telephone interviews conducted November 12 to 14, 2009, at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC. The error factor is plus or minus 3.8%.

    America's Research Group, one of the nation's foremost consumer research and strategic marketing firms, marks its 30th anniversary in 2009. CEO Britt Beemer is a key resource and advisor to leading brands and top retailers. He is author of The Customer Rules, published by McGraw-Hill.

    UBS Global Equity Research provides the broad global perspective and in-depth analysis that institutional investors need to make good investment decisions. With more than 600 analysts, associates, strategists and economists in EMEA, APAC and the Americas, UBS covers approximately 85% of the world market capitalization - over 3,300 companies worldwide across 46 different markets. In addition to UBS's disciplined fundamental research, clients also rely on UBS for corporate and expert access to give them the insight they need, when they need it.

    Barbara Burns (212) 486-1140