Business Outlook of Independent ECPs Improves at Year End, Shows Jobson Research Barometer

NEW YORK—For the last month of 2011, the outlook of independent ECPs toward their overall business saw a significant improvement, according to the latest edition of Jobson Optical Research’s Optical Business Barometer (OBB). The Barometer rose 0.3 from November’s index of 3.5, to reach 3.8 in December; its highest reading since March 2011 when the rating was 3.9.

Earlier this year, July and August held steady, both having an index of 3.7, a rise from June 2011’s reading of 3.6. Then in September, the index declined to 3.5

In contrast, the index rating for December 2010 was 3.6. “The highest rating achieved in any 2010 month for overall optical business was 3.7,” 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.”

“A comparison of the 2011 to 2010 ratings indicates that this year performed better in terms of meeting or exceeding expectations and was probably a ‘better’ year for business among independent optical retailers,” the report stated.

According to the Barometer, the average of the monthly ratings for overall optical business for 2011 was 3.6, while for 2010, it was 3.5, making the ratings for September through December of 2011 each higher by .2 than the previous year month for overall optical business. “This indicates that 2011 finished stronger than did 2010. This is arguably the most significant point of comparative difference between the two years,” the OBB said.

A complete version of this article is available here.  A more detailed view of the Jobson OBB, including outlook for specific business segments and product categories is available from Jobson Optical Research.