CHICAGO – Last year at this time, it was three of four regions reporting June sales increases compared to the prior year. This year, it’s just the opposite, according to the results of this month’s AmericanDrycleaner.com StatShot survey.
The Northeast was the only region to register a June-to-June sales boost, and it was only 0.6%. Sales were down an identical 0.6% in the West, 3.4% in the South and 4.8% in the Midwest.
As for the second quarter, April through June, the numbers improved slightly. The Northeast posted a 1.0% quarter-to-quarter increase compared to 2011, followed closely by the West at 0.9%. Quarterly sales were down 1.6% in the Midwest and 2.7% in the South.
As one might imagine from those figures, comments offered by dry cleaners were somewhat gloomy:
- “Laundered shirt piece counts have hit an all-time low.” — Northeast
- “After eight straight months of increases year over year, April was down and June was down. May was up but not enough to pull the quarter up. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, keeping people out of the dry cleaners.” — Midwest
- “Better but not good.” — West
- “Sales are down because of the economy and it being an election year. People are scared to release any money, not knowing what we may face in the next months. We are a ‘luxury’ service and people will do their own laundry to save money for food and lodging.” — South
- “Record heat in June really knocked down dry cleaning volume. Shirt business held up well.” — Midwest
- “First quarter was up about 4%. Second quarter down mainly because of June. Seems like summer slowdown started in June this year.” — Northeast
- “More and more customers working out of their homes and therefore not dressing for work.” — South
The AmericanDrycleaner.com StatShot surveys the trade audience every month on a variety of issues facing the industry. While the survey presents a snapshot of dry cleaners’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.