StatShot: Under Clearer Skies, Dry Cleaners Post Sales Increases Across the Board in January

Bruce Beggs |

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 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.”’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.

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.


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