CHICAGO — Dry cleaners in all four regions of the United States collectively posted gains in September sales and third-quarter sales, with cleaners in the West reporting the strongest increases: 8.4% in September year-over-year sales and 7.0% in quarter-over-quarter sales, according to results from this month’s American Drycleaner StatShot survey.
Dry cleaners in the Northeast posted the next strongest September sales increase, 8.0% over September 2013. The region’s third-quarter sales were up 6.6% compared to the July-September period in 2013.
Dry cleaners in the South posted sizable gains in September and third-quarter sales: up 5.2% compared to September 2013, 3.2% over third quarter 2013.
The numbers were also better in the Midwest, where September sales were up 2.1% compared to the same month last year, and third-quarter sales rose 4.0%.
While this month’s survey results were upbeat on average, that isn’t always the case. During those months when a dry cleaner’s sales fall below expectations, respondents say they eye various reasons for the results, including the economy, the trend toward casual wear, the rising costs of supplies, and poor customer service.
Here are some select comments from operators across the country:
- Midwest — “When sales fail to meet expectations, it is almost always a result of poor sales/marketing effort and managers/owners taking their eye off of the ball.”
- South — “Our sales are below our goal for the year and I feel the primary reason is due to decreased population in one area and poor customer [service] in another area. Our sales are up in one store due to better customer service.”
- Northeast — “In the Northeast, we move with the local economy. [When] employment and spendable income goes up, our sales will. Until then, we battle it out and grow off our competitors closing.”
- West — “Raise in [cost of] supplies, slow to raise cleaning prices.”
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.