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Economy Continues to Take Its Toll on Drycleaning, Survey Shows

Jason Hicks |

CHICAGO — Analyst statements that the recession may be leveling off aren’t holding true in the drycleaning industry, as sales and piececounts continue to show declines in the month of April, according to a recent AmericanDrycleaner.com StatShot survey.
When comparing April 2009 to the same month last year, drycleaners in the Midwest report the biggest decrease in sales, with an average 7.3% drop. The West followed closely with an average 6.6% decrease. In the Northeast, drycleaners report an average 5.4% decrease, and in the South, they report an average 2.6% decrease.
The Midwest also suffered the biggest drop in piececounts for this period, with drycleaners in the region reporting an average 7.2% drop. In the West, drycleaners report an average 7.2% drop. In the Northeast, piececounts were down 6.7%, and in the South, they fell 4.2%.
“The state of Michigan continues to be in a full-blown recession,” explains one drycleaner in the Midwest. “The worst in the nation, bar none.”
“It seems we had false hope last month that conditions were improving,” says a drycleaner in the Northeast. “Now it seems to be worsening again.”
A drycleaner in the South indicated that while sales were down, it wasn’t as bad of a sign as many might make it out to be: “We had a very good first quarter, and the second quarter [has been] good as well, but business is still down from a year ago.”
“We have been more aggressive on discounts to attract new customers,” says a drycleaner in the Northeast. “Our marketing strategies are working, as our customer base is growing, and our profit margin is higher on less dollars.”
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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