CHICAGO — October was a good month for dry cleaners across the country, as all four regions posted year-over-year sales gains, according to results from this month’s American Drycleaner StatShot survey.
October was the second straight month that every region enjoyed a better year-over-year number.
The West posted the highest year-over-year gain in October at 7.1%. Coming in next was the Midwest, up 6.6% from October 2013, and the Northeast, up 5.6%. The South also posted a healthy year-over-year boost, up 3.9%.
“October was a good month to be in the drycleaning business,” says a respondent from Indiana.
“Limited competitors, a good month and a good fire project helped,” adds one from South Dakota. “We also raised our prices in September-October.”
“October was the best performing month we have had in years,” says a New York state cleaner. “Things are definitely turning around here.”
That optimism might be tempered a bit by sullen comments elsewhere. Some respondents believe their region’s markets are “shrinking.” One operator in Oregon reported that his/her volume was the same but generated stronger sales due to price increases.
Something that certainly puts a damper on better sales is higher utilities cost. Indeed, year-over-year utilities cost in October was up in every region: 5.7% in the West and the Northeast, 3.2% in the Midwest, and 2.6% in the South.
“Costs (are) out of line with profits,” asserts a cleaner from West Virginia.
“The cost of doing business is always going up,” writes a cleaner from New York state. “Between licensing fees, utilities, labor increases, supplies, etc., it’s more and more difficult to hold prices down.”
The StatShot surveys the drycleaning trade audience every 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.