Latest Business Barometer Measuring Independents’ Attitudes Toward Business Shows Increase

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NEW YORK—The Jobson Research Optical Business Barometer (OBB), which indexes the ratings of independent ECPs’ attitudes about their business and toward the general businesses climate, showed an increase in December 2012. Though the rating stands one point lower than last year’s December rating of 3.8, independents’ attitudes were indexed at 3.7 in December 2012 as compared to 3.6 in November.vely. Furthermore, the average of overall ratings from January through November 2012 stands at a 3.7 as compared to 3.6 in 2011 and 3.5 in 2010.

  

The average of overall ratings from January through December 2012 reflected an improvement, indexing at 3.7 as compared to 3.6 and 3.5 for the same periods in 2011 and 2010, respectively. The confidence rating for the outlook among independents towards the upcoming six months of optical retail business rose to a 3.7 in December 2012 as compared to 3.6 in November. This is, however, slightly lower than confidence ratings for the same period in 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.8 and 3.6, respectively. Averaged future ratings for the period January through December 2012 remained the same as the November 2012 index of 3.8, as compared to 3.7 in December 2011 and 3.6 in December 2010.

Independents’ December business ratings reflect a unanimous increase in ECPs’ attitudes towards business in the specific areas of exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses. As compared to November 2012, exam ratings have increased from 3.6 to 3.7, eyeglasses ratings have increased from 3.5 to 3.7 and contact lenses have risen from 3.4 to 3.6.

  

The eye exams index for January through December 2012 stood at 3.7, showing consistent increase from 3.6 and 3.5 for the same period in 2011 and 2010. The average score for independents’ eyeglasses sales indexed at 3.6, showing consistency with last month’s measurements and an increase from the same period 2011 and 2010, which stood at 3.5 and 3.4, respectively. The average index scores for contact lenses January through December 2012 stood at 3.5, as compared to the same rating for this period in 2011 and a 3.4 rating for the period in 2010.

For the South Census region, the average overall optical business scores for the period January through December 2012 stood at 3.8. The Midwest and Northeast averages each stood at 3.7 and the average for the West indexed at 3.6.

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. In the latest report, the Consumer Confidence Survey decreased from a revised index of 71.5 in November to a 65.1 in December. It is worth nothing that the index fell to a 40.5 in October 2011, rose to a high of 71.6 in February 2012 and has yielded varied ratings since that time. The lowest index recorded was 25.3 in February 2009, and the highest a 144.7 in January 2000.

  

The OBB is sponsored by International Vision Expo. For more information or to purchase a subscription to the Optical Business Barometer, please visit www.jobsonresearch.com/obb.