CHICAGO – The Northeast was the lone bright spot for September dry cleaning sales, posting a 1.8% gain compared to sales recorded in September 2011, according to the latest AmericanDrycleaner.com StatShot survey.
In comparing September 2012 sales to September 2011, the West saw a 0.1% decrease and the South a 3.9% decline. The Midwest was hit the hardest, with sales down 7.0% from a year earlier.
“After 10 months of year-over-year increases, the bottom seemed to fall out starting in July 2012,” reports an operator from Illinois. “August saw a slight increase, then September was way off. Still can’t get any traction or consistency in sales.”
“September was a rough month, with five Saturdays and five Sundays in one month,” says another operator from the Midwest. “We should see the rebound in October.”
The West joined the Northeast in posting better third-quarter sales compared to a year ago. Both regions posted 2.0% increases in the July-September period. Third-quarter sales were down 2.0% in the South and down 2.4% in the Midwest compared to 2011 business.
Several operators around the country report that piece counts continue to decline. But one cleaner in the South says September sales were up due to Hurricane Isaac insurance claims: “We are seeing a lot of mucky, flood-damaged leather jackets right now.” (Editor’s note: Might cleaners see a bump in business in the wake of Hurricane Sandy?)
“One supplier told me it was the worst summer in 19 years,” adds another operator from the Midwest.
AmericanDrycleaner.com surveys the trade audience every month on a variety of issues facing the dry cleaning industry. While the StatShot survey presents a snapshot of operators’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.
Audience members are invited to participate anonymously in these surveys, which are conducted online via a partner website. All dry cleaners are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.