CHICAGO — Drycleaning sales in the West showed the strongest year-over-year gain last month among all regions, up 6.8%, according to results from this month’s American Drycleaner StatShot survey.
While dry cleaners in the Northeast and Midwest posted minimal year-over-year sales gains of 0.6% and 0.1%, respectively, cleaners in the South saw sales dip 2.0% from last November.
In terms of marketing spending, dry cleaners in the Northeast posted the strongest boost among all regions, up 2.8% over last year.
“We are spending a lot more on marketing this year,” says one dry cleaner there, explaining that he/she uses Facebook and radio advertising. “Newspapers and direct [mail] don’t work for me.”
“We are being much more aggressive with our marketing,” adds another dry cleaner from the region.
Dry cleaners in the West also reported spending more in marketing efforts this year compared to last year (up 2.7%), as well as dry cleaners in the South (up 1.5%) and Midwest (up 0.4%).
“Significant emphasis on marketing this year compared to last year,” says a dry cleaner in the South.
“New stores/new markets and new business channels required a considerable expenditure in marketing/advertising,” echoes a Midwest dry cleaner.
Regarding overall market conditions, a dry cleaner from Louisiana blamed the state’s recent “fickle” weather. “Three days in the 30s and four [days] in the 70s. Longer cool periods would only help.”
“November was disappointing,” says a Midwest dry cleaner. “The snowstorms forecast for December will prevent any significant increases in that month’s sales. Costs [are] rising. I will either have to increase prices, or reduce the amount of coupons and discounts. In my market, increasing prices will definitely mean less pieces.”
“Last November had an unusally high sales volume coming from water damage projects as a result of Superstorm Sandy,” says a Northeast dry cleaner. “Removing that aberration results in a 6% sales increase for regular services.”
“Sales continue to increase by double digits for the second straight month,” says a dry cleaner from the West. “If this continues in December, we may make double digits for the year for the first time since 2007.”
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.