CHICAGO — Could the results of American Drycleaner’s unscientific StatShot surveys continue to illustrate a prolonged uptick in average drycleaning sales nationwide?
For the month of January, every region reported better year-over-year sales on average. Only once since September 2014 has there been a month when there were not better average drycleaning sales reported across the board—and that was in November when three of the four regions posted gains.
The Midwest enjoyed the biggest year-over-year gains nationwide last month, with average sales there up 6.7%. Next was the West, up 4.5%. In the Northeast, sales were up 2.6% compared to January 2014, and the South posted a 2.1% year-over-year gain.
When comparing calendar year 2014 to calendar year 2013, average drycleaning sales were also up across the board, albeit not to the same degree. The South posted the biggest average year-over-year gain of 3.5%, followed by the Midwest (up 2.3%), the Northeast (up 1.5%) and the West (up 1.0%).
As is tradition, American Drycleaner asked respondents how current market conditions were affecting their drycleaning business. Their answers were as varied as their locations:
- “Retail is steady, and routes are growing.” — California
- “The extreme cold and snow have made for bad sales and high utility bills and lots of other problems like freeze-ups of water towers and boilers.” — Ohio
- “This is the middle of busy season for us. Slows down dramatically after May 1st, when the snow birds go back up north.” — Florida
- “The market is growing but becoming more casual.” — Texas
- “Things are even from two years ago. We are trying to keep up but the market looks to be going away. Casual whatever is not good for us. Even if we try to market casual, the profit is not (there).” — Oklahoma
- “Shirt volume is increasing, dry cleaning continues to decline.” — Kansas
- “Some businesses in the area are moving away from casual (dress) environments and that presents some opportunities.” — Wisconsin
- “Look for a turnaround late in March, with Easter being early this year. That is usually a catalyst for an increase in business, especially if a warming of temps can coincide.” — Missouri
The StatShot surveys the drycleaning trade audience each month on a variety of financial issues. While the survey presents a snapshot of market performance, it should not be considered scientific.
American Drycleaner audience members are invited via e-mail to participate anonymously in the unscientific 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.