BUSINESS: Research + Stats Latest Business Barometer Shows Increase in Attitude Among Independents By Staff Wednesday, July 18, 2012 12:05 AM NEW YORK— According to the latest Optical Business Barometer from Jobson Research, the business attitude among independent eyecare professionals has increased this month, showing a June index rating of 3.7 as compared to 3.5 in May. This overall rating also shows an improvement over June ratings for 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.6 and 3.4, respectively. From January through June, the average rating for optical retail business has risen to a 3.8, as compared to averages of the same period in 2011 which stood at 3.6 and in 2010 which came in at 3.5. The confidence rating for the next six months remains steady with May’s figure of 3.8, but shows a consistent rise from 3.7 in June 2011 and 3.5 in June 2010, according to the OBB. Ratings in the sectors of eyeglasses, contact lenses and exams have all increased this month, with eyeglasses and contact lenses rising to a 3.6 as compared to 3.5 in May, and exams standing at a 3.7 over a 3.5 in May. For the period of January through June, eyeglasses stand at a 3.7 as compared to 3.6 and 3.5 in 2011 and 2010. Contact lenses stand at a 3.6 as compared to a 3.5 and 3.4, and exams stand at 3.7 as compared to a 3.6 and 3.5 in the two previous years. The OBB is a monthly survey of a representative sample of independent optical retailers (single locations or groups of no more than three locations) designed to gauge the trends of eyecare professionals at these locations. The survey is conducted online by Jobson Optical Research to measure attitudes of independent ECPs about the current business climate and outlook based on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is “very negative” and 5 is “very positive,” with 3 representing “neutral.” According to the study, the ratings for the Northeast, South and Midwest Census Regions all increased from May to June, with the Northeast rising from 3.5 to 3.6, the South rising from 3.6 to 3.9 and the Midwest rising from 3.5 to 3.7. The West Census Region remained steady at 3.5 for both periods. OBB findings are further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board. In June, the Consumer Confidence Index showed a decrease to 62 from a revised 64.4 index in May. It is worth noting that the October index stood at 40.5 and the February index was 71.6, the high point for 2012. The index has shown a steady decline since that time. The highest index recorded was a 144.7 in January 2000, and the lowest index was a 25.3 in February 2009. For the full Optical Business Barometer Report, go to www.JobsonResearch.com.