BUSINESS: Research + Stats Latest Business Barometer Reflects Positive Views Hold Steady Among Independents By Staff Tuesday, April 17, 2012 4:00 PM NEW YORK—Keeping with February’s upward trend in business attitude among eyecare independents, the latest Optical Business Barometer (OBB) from Jobson Research shows that the March 2012 rating held steady coming in at 3.9, the same level as the previous month. In February 2012, the outlook of independents toward their overall business was the highest since the inception of the OBB in January 2010. “The cumulative rating for the first 3 months of 2012 are significantly higher than the same cumulative 3 months of 2011 or 2010 indicating a more positive business trend so far this year than at the same time during the 2 previous calendar years,” according to the report. “The confidence continued for a positive business trend for the upcoming 6 months which was also significantly higher in March 2012, as well as for all months of 2012 when compared to the same months of either 2011 or 2010,” 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.” Reflecting increased optimism in the vision care arena, eye exams matched their highest monthly ratings since the inception of the Optical Business Barometer at the beginning of 2010. According to the Barometer, the West Census Region stood at 4.0 in March 2012, the highest rating for that region since the inception of the study. The Midwest Census Region also matched its highest rating since the inception of the study while in March 2012 the Northeast and South Census Regions backed down slightly from their historically highest ratings. 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 71.6 in February to 70.2 in March. This March decrease follows a small decrease in February 2012. Since October 2011 when it stood at 40.5 the Consumer Confidence Index has increased significantly.