CHICAGO — The record snowfalls that impacted business in a big way last January were nowhere to be seen this January, as all four regions reported sales increases of at least 4%, according to results of the latest AmericanDrycleaner.com StatShot survey.
The Northeast benefited most, it seems, with sales there up 7.8% from January 2011. Not far behind was the Midwest, where January sales rose 6.3%. Sales in the South were up 4.9%, followed closely by the West and its 4.1% boost.
Annual comparative results were more varied across the country. The Northeast was again the leader, with 2011 annual sales increasing 7% from 2010. The West’s 2011 sales were 4.5% higher than the previous year’s, and the South garnered 1.4% more in sales last year than in 2010.
The Midwest was the only region to see its annual sales slip, down 0.4% from 2010.
Nationally, cleaners that responded to the unscientific survey averaged a 5.5% sales increase in January compared to January 2011 and a 2.3% sales increase in calendar year 2011 from 2010.
“2011 was the first year in four that we were up,” says a Western cleaner. “2012 seems to be stronger. Let’s hope!”
“The market is improving here in Chicago, at least for me,” reports a cleaner from the Midwest. “I have six straight months of year-over-year increases after three years of declining sales. 2012 has started off with a bang, with a 20% jump in January sales and February off to a 75% increase (in the) first eight days.”
In the Northeast, one cleaner reports, “Business continues to be recovering nicely, as it was last year for us.”
“Very healthy,” says a Southern cleaner. “In most cases, both husband and wife are working and have less time for home chores, thus a lot of garments we are getting are wash ’n’ wear.”
But things certainly aren’t rosy for everyone, as evidenced by these reports:
- South: “Without much marketing, I would have been flat or lost ground.”
- West: “Better, but still not real good.”
- Midwest: “Very poor. Total available volume continues to decline, with over saturation of cleaners to service the ever-reducing volume. Grocery store ‘cleaners’ with their fuel perks take away volume from legitimate cleaners.”
- Northeast: “Contracting, (but) we’re trying to capitalize on this. I am approaching a cleaner that is closing its doors and trying to get them to actively refer clients to us. I’ll pay them a commission on clients sent our way.”
AmericanDrycleaner.com’s StatShot surveys readers every month on a variety of issues facing the industry. While the anonymous survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.