Latest Business Barometer Index, Measuring Independents’ Attitudes Toward Business, Reflects Slight Decline

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NEW YORK—The Jobson Research Optical Business Barometer (OBB) Index, which surveys attitudes among independent ECPs about the general business climate and their own businesses, reflected a dip in the October rating, moving to a 3.4 from a 3.6 rating in September. The average index rating from January through October 2012 stands at 3.7, a slight increase from the average across the same 10-month periods in 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.6 and 3.5, respectively. Confidence ratings for the upcoming six months, among independent ECPs, for overall optical retail business remained consistent with August and September ratings at 3.7.

Attitudes of ECPs toward eyeglasses, contact lenses and exams have all changed slightly compared to the prior months of this year. Both eyeglass sales and contact lens sales rated a 3.4 in October compared to 3.5 in September, and eye exams rated 3.5 as compared to 3.6. The average scores for the period January through October 2012, however, all increased, with eyeglass and contact lens sales rating a 3.6 as compared to a 3.5 and 3.4 for the same periods in 2011 and 2010, and eye exams remained at the September rating of 3.7, showing increase from ratings of 3.6 and 3.5 for January through October 2011 and 2010.

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."

OBB findings are further compared to the Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board. This month, the Consumer Confidence Survey showed an increase from a revised index of 68.4 in September to 72.2 in October. It is worth nothing that the index stood at 40.5 in October 2011, which was the lowest rating in the past year.

The OBB is sponsored by International Vision Expo. To read the full report complete with charts, visit VisionMonday.com.