BUSINESS: Research + Stats Latest Business Barometer Reflects Attitude Among Independents Is Down Slightly By Staff Thursday, May 17, 2012 5:00 PM NEW YORK—The business attitude among eyecare independents showed a slight downward trend as the latest Optical Business Barometer from Jobson Research indicated the April 2012 index rating dipped to 3.7 from a rating of 3.9 in both February and March of this year. However, the April rating for 2012 showed a slight improvement over April ratings for both 2010 and 2011, when each stood at 3.6. For calendar 2012, the average of the ratings for January through April stood at 3.8, an increase for those four months over the last two years when the averages for the same periods in 2011 and 2010 were 3.7 and 3.6 respectively. “Numbers were also down slightly in the confidence rating towards business for the upcoming 6 months, which declined to 3.8 in April from 3.9 in March,” according to the report. “The average of the ratings for the upcoming 6 months for January through April of 2012 stood at 3.9, compared to 3.7 in both 2011 and 2010 for the same months,” the report said. A monthly survey of a representative sample of independent optical retailers (single locations and groups of no more than three locations), the OBB is designed to gauge the optical business trends of eyecare professionals at independent optical locations. Conducted online by Jobson Optical Research, the OBB is designed to measure attitudes of independent eyecare professionals about the current business climate and outlook. The OBB is based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is “very negative”, 3 is “neutral” and 5 is “very positive.” Ratings were also off slightly in the vision care arena with the eyeglasses, contact lenses and eye exams ratings for 2012 all declining when compared to March. The largest decrease was in Eye Exams with a rating of 3.6 in April, down from the 3.9 rating in March. The findings of the OBB are compared to those in the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board. The Consumer Confidence Index decreased from a revised 69.5 in March to 69.2 in April. It is worth noting that the Consumer Confidence Index stood at 40.5 in October 2011, increased to 71.6 by February and has remained relatively flat (though declining slightly) since then.