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Drycleaning Sales Continue to Fall, but Costs Hold Steady, Survey Says

Jason Hicks |

CHICAGO — Drycleaners’ declining sales continued to be a problem in the month of July, but operating costs held relatively steady across the country, according to a recent AmericanDrycleaner.com StatShot survey.
Drycleaners in the West reported the biggest decrease in sales for July 2009 compared to July 2008, with an average 11.3% drop. The South followed with an average 8.2% decrease. In the Midwest, drycleaners reported an average 6.0% decrease, and in the Northeast, they reported an average 4.4% decrease.
“[The] economy in our city is doing better than most, but drycleaning does not seem to be a priority to people during difficult times,” said one drycleaner in the South. “It seems to be an expense some people feel they can live without right now.”
Drycleaners responding to the survey reported relatively stable operating costs for July 2009 compared to July 2008. The West showed the greatest increase in costs, with drycleaners in the region reporting an average 2.1% increase. The Northeast also showed an increase of 0.9%. In the Midwest and South, operating costs actually went down, with survey respondents reporting decreases of 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively.
“The one good thing about a bad economy is that it makes us better managers,” said a drycleaner in the Midwest. “It gives you an opportunity to find out what is really important to the business. You have to to stay profitable with shrinking revenue.”
AmericanDrycleaner.com’s StatShot includes information on sales, wages, costs and other financial data based on anonymous survey information provided by industry operators. Subscribers to American Drycleaner’s Wire e-mails are invited to participate in these unscientific surveys, which are conducted online via a partner website, on a regular basis. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.
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About the author

Jason Hicks

American Drycleaner

Jason Hicks was assistant editor for American Trade Magazines, which publishes American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News, for more than nine years, and web editor for three years.

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