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    Charleston, SC, December 21, 2009... Over half of those American consumers (50.4%) who haven't yet finished their Christmas shopping say that lack of discounts of 60% to 70% off have had a negative impact on their shopping experience this year. This was a major finding of the week's Christmas Retail Survey released today by America's Research Group (ARG) and UBS. Lack of big discounts had a major effect on 22.2% of consumers versus 13.7% last year.

    "Consumers have a long memory and want those substantial discounts they found last year," says C. Britt Beemer CEO and founder of ARG.

    "Meanwhile electronics have dominated the Christmas selling season, going ahead of toys for the first time since the early 80's when VCR's exceeded toys one year," he added. The price of flat-panel TV sets is so low that they are now a mass product demand item at $499 and below, according to Beemer.

    Wal-Mart increased their dominance of the important holiday shopping season, with 83.9% of consumers saying they shopped there this year, compared to 77.9% last year. The survey also identified retail winners and losers for Christmas 2009 (see the list below) judged by how well they did in retaining customers during the holiday shopping season.

    Because of a fierce winter storm over almost half the country and lack of big discounts, 41.9% of consumers still have shopping to do, compared with 21.5% last year. Only 58.1% of consumers have finished or nearly finished buying their holiday gifts, compared with 78.5% last year.

    The winter storm didn't help on-line shopping, however, and it remains flat with 42.9% of consumers shopping on-line this year, compared to 41.9% last year.

    Top gifts: Electronics topped the gift lists of 34.4% of consumers this year. Toys came in second with 28.4%, then children's clothes at 18.5%, women's clothes at 15.5% and men's clothes at 15.2%

    Top stores shopped this weekend: Wal-Mart was far ahead of others this weekend, with 55.6% of consumers saying they shopped there. Others were Sears (22.1%), Target (18.4%) Best Buy (11.7%) and Kmart (11.6%).

    Top gifts at Wal-Mart this weekend: Toys (38.6%), electronics (27.6%), DVD's (19.6%), and video games (16.5%)

    Retail Winners and Losers for Christmas 2009 are judged in the survey by their ability to get their customers to return during the holiday shopping season.

    The Winners: Wal-Mart did an outstanding job with 93.0% of their customers returning to shop at the store this Christmas. Others in the winners category are Ross (87.7%), Kmart (86.2%), Sears (86.0%), Big Lots (83.7%), Target (83.5%), JCPenney (82.4%), Sam's Club (81.9%), TJ Maxx (80.9%).

    The Losers: Only four major retailers were unable to get half of their customers to return. Office Max did the poorest job in getting only 46.1% of customers to return during the Christmas shopping season. Others in the losers lists are Saks (46.4%), Office Depot (46.5%), Home Depot (47.3%).

    Conducted December 19 and 20, 2009 at ARG headquarters in Charleston, SC, the ARG/UBS Christmas Retail Survey consisted of telephone interviews with 1,000 consumers. 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