CHICAGO — Average drycleaning sales during the month of May were mixed, according to the results of the latest American Drycleaner StatShot survey, with the Northeast and the South reporting year-over-year increases from May 2014.
It was the first time since February 2014, based on previous StatShot surveys, that at least two regions reported declining drycleaning sales in the same month.
In the Northeast, where sales rose an average of 2.7% in May compared to one year earlier, individual reactions were also mixed. One operator remarked that his/her sales were “growing as the stock market increases,” while another called local market conditions “fair at best.”
“[The] local economy [is] improving but [there are] still many small businesses closing,” wrote one cleaner from the region. “Our results are not great, continuing a long, slow downward trend.”
Year-over-year sales were up an average of 1.6% in the South. One operator there said summer is tough on business.
“This [is] our summer season, which means more than 50% of the people return back up north,” the respondent wrote. “Our revenue and volume dramatically go down until October.”
The Midwest reported the largest drop in sales, 3.0% on average.
One cleaner in Ohio blamed “market saturation with dry cleaners, and a declining total available volume.”
“Poor dressing, particularly by men, seems to be the root cause in declining pieces,” the respondent wrote. “No end for this in sight.”
Year-over-year sales were down an average of 0.4% in the West.
“The past two months have been slower than usual for us,” wrote a California cleaner. “I am not sure of the reason why but I am checking it out to make sure it is an abnormal variation due to external factors rather than internally caused.”
Meanwhile, drycleaning prices in May were up across the board when compared to those of May 2014: Northeast, 1.8%; South, 1.5%; West, 1.1%; and Midwest, 1.0%.
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 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.