CHICAGO – Dry cleaning sales for May grew in all four regions, the second straight month there have been across-the-board gains this year, according to the latest AmericanDrycleaner.com StatShot survey.
Nationwide, sales increased 3.9%, while all regions also reported upticks in prices from May 2012.
Dry cleaners in the South posted 5.1% growth when comparing May 2013 to May 2012. Two-thirds of respondents there reported a rise in sales.
“May must be an aberration,” says one cleaner. “It’s the best MOM (month over month) in over five years.”
“More people going on vacation than last year, a good sign,” adds another.
The other regions saw smaller but still significant sales increases in May from one year ago: West, up 3.9%; Midwest, up 3.6%; and Northeast, up 1.6%.
For every positive report, however, there were as many or more bad.
“There is no consistency in the markets we service,” says a cleaner from the Midwest. “Some days are up and other days fall off a cliff. Even the commercial accounts are spotty at best. Unemployment remains a problem here in Illinois.”
“January through May were OK, then (sales) suddenly dropped in June,” reports a respondent in the West. “Too soon to see if it continues. June is usually a drop through summer.”
From the Northeast came this report: “After a full year of volume declines, things are finally stabilizing, although they are stabilizing at volume of two years ago.”
Boosts in sales can be attributed at least in part to higher prices. Cleaners in every region reported their prices were higher on average in May 2013 than May 2012: South, up 3.1%; Midwest, up 2.2%; West, up 1.9%; and Northeast, up 1.0%.
“We review prices July 1st annually,” says a cleaner from the Midwest.
AmericanDrycleaner.com’s StatShot surveys the trade audience every month on a variety of issues facing the industry. While the anonymous survey presents a snapshot of dry cleaners’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.