CHICAGO — May year-over-year sales for dry cleaners in the South were up 7.4%, the strongest gain among all regions, according to results of this month’s American Drycleaner StatShot survey.
While dry cleaners in the West and Northeast posted similar gains of 4.9% and 4.8%, respectively, those in the Midwest were the only ones to see May year-over-year sales dip, down 0.1%.
Meanwhile, cleaners in the West increased their operations’ prices an average of 4% compared to May 2013 figures. Prices were up, on average, 3.4% in the South, 1.6% in the Midwest and 1.1% in the Northeast from one year ago.
“Market conditions are steadily improving,” says a Midwest operator. “People are still a little reluctant to ‘splurge’ on extras like dry cleaning, but slowly, ever so slowly, things seem to be coming back.”
One operator from the South agrees, saying, “The general public spends less and less on … garment care.”
Another Midwest operator adds, “[Market conditions are] getting worse as people in the Midwest continue to dress very poorly, and competition is intense.”
“People are cutting back any way they can,” says an operator from the West. “I'm lucky I have well-off customers, but they cut back as well.”
“We have new customers signing up every day,” says an operator from the Northeast. “I can't speak to whether they are better or worse in our area, but we are attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.”
The StatShot surveys the drycleaning trade audience each 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 surveys, which are conducted online at AmericanDrycleaner.com. All dry cleaners are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.