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NEW YORK - June 3, 2003-Geopolitical events and an uncertain economic future have had a definite impact on consumer confidence over the past year. Although the Conference Board's consumer confidence index was trending downward at the start of the year, it experienced a sharp increase in April and was up again this past month. Will this uptick in consumer confidence and spending pick-up in the back half of the year or will it take a conservative approach? And if consumers decide to hold on to their money, how will that affect the retailers, restaurants, food distributors and entertainment companies?

To answer these questions and many more, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray hosts its 23rd annual Consumer Conference, June 10 and 11 in New York.

"Consumer confidence has been a key indicator for the overall strength of the economy and specifically the capital markets over the past year," said Robert W. Peterson, head of Investment Research at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. "This year's conference line-up includes presentations from top consumer companies, which will provide investors with valuable and timely information regarding trends to watch in retail, restaurants, food distribution and entertainment industries."

The conference will feature more than 60 of the most highly regarded and influential public and private companies in retail, food processing and distribution, restaurants and leisure and entertainment. Management teams from the participating companies will make 30-minute presentations, each addressing their latest performance results and current industry trends.

The conference kicks off Tuesday morning with an overview presentation of the consumer sector by six U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray senior research analysts: Reed Anderson, hardlines retail, Allan Hickok, restaurants, Eric Larson, food processing and distribution, Tony Gikas, leisure and entertainment, Jeff Klinefelter, softlines retail, mass merchandising and multichannel commerce and Brent Rystrom, broadlines/specialty retail.

Highlighting the conference are two panels and one separate presentation:
Taking Stock With Teens:
Moderated by Jeff Klinefelter and Tony Gikas.

The panel will consist of juniors and seniors from a New Jersey high school, who will be discussing what's hot and what's not in fashion and entertainment.

The Art of Balancing Growth and Productivity:
Moderated by Jeff Klinefelter and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Senior REITs Analyst Andrew Rosivach.

The panel will include a discussion with retailers and mall developers.
Panelists include:
John Mills, Aeropostale, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer
Kent Kleeberger, Too, Inc. Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Dave Contis, Macerich Company Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Jim McCloskey, Regency Centers Corporation Chief Financial Officer

The Real World:
A presentation by Scott Friend, ProfitLogic Vice Chairman and President.

ProfitLogic is the leading provider of Retail Merchandise Optimization software that helps retailers make more profitable buying, allocating and pricing decisions based on customer demand. The discussion will focus on the driving profit improvement with merchandise optimization software.

Company and investor participation for the U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Consumer Conference is by invitation only. Members of the media who would like to attend should contact Susan Beatty at 612-303-5680 or All other registration is done online at

The following companies are scheduled to present at the conference: 99 Cents Only Stores, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Aeropostale, Inc., Applebee's International, Inc., Bally Total Fitness Holding Corporation, Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation, Big Lots, Inc., Cache, Inc., California Pizza Kitchen, Inc., CEC Entertainment, Inc., Champps Entertainment, Inc., Charlotte Russe Holding, Inc., The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., Chicago Pizza & Brewery, Inc., Coach, Inc., CSK Auto Corporation, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Electronic Arts Inc., Electronics Boutique Holdings Corp., Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc., Family Dollar Stores, Inc., Fossil, Inc., Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Galyan's Trading Company, Inc., Gart Sports Company, Group 1 Automotive, Inc., The Gymboree Corporation, Guitar Center, Inc., The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Horizon Organic Holding Corporation, Hormel Foods Corporation, Huffy Corporation, JAKKS Pacific, Inc., The J. Jill Group, Inc., K2 Inc., Kirkland's, Inc., IMAX Corporation, International Multifoods Corporation, Landry's Restaurants, Inc., LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., Limited Brands Inc., LodgeNet Entertainment Corporation, Lowe's Companies, Inc., Macerich Company, Michaels Stores, Inc., Mossimo, Inc., Nash-Finch Company, O'Charley's Inc., O'Reilly Automotive, Inc., Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc., Performance Food Group Company, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc., ProfitLogic, Quiksilver, Inc., RARE Hospitality International, Inc., Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., Regency Centers Corporation, Regis Corporation, Select Comfort Corporation, ShopKo Stores, Inc., Sonic Corp., Staples, Inc., SUPERVALU, Inc., Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., THQ, Inc., Too, Inc., Tractor Supply Company, Ultimate Electronics, Inc., United Natural Foods, Inc., Urban Outfitters, Inc. and Wild Oats Markets, Inc.

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp, is a focused securities firm comprised of four lines of business: Equities and Investment Banking, Fixed Income Capital Markets, Private Advisory Services and Investment Research. The firm provides a full range of investment products and services to individuals, institutions and businesses and has over 124 offices in 25 states across the country. For more information on U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, visit

© 2003 U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, 800 Nicollet Mall, Suite 800, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402-7020

Additional information is available upon request.