CHICAGO — June year-over-year sales finished neck and neck between dry cleaners in the Midwest and the West, up 3.6% and 3.5%, respectively, according to results of July’s American Drycleaner StatShot survey.
Dry cleaners in the Northeast posted a 2.1% year-over-year sales gain in June, while cleaners in the South saw a 1.3% gain.
Second-quarter (April, May and June) sales gains in the Northeast (2.9%) trailed gains in the West by four-tenths of a percent, which were up 3.3% over the same period last year. Dry cleaners in the South and Midwest posted identical sales gains over second-quarter 2013, both up 1.9%.
Despite reporting better numbers in June, respondents from the Midwest and West remain cautious.
“[Market conditions] are very soft and unpredictable,” says a Midwest cleaner. “Unemployment and underemployment remains high.”
“Very poor dress styles in the Midwest have [a] terrible effect on all dry cleaners,” says another.
“[Conditions] can be better as we have dry cleaning, linen and fire restoration, so we are OK, but overall [conditions are] not encouraging,” says a cleaner from the West.
One from the Northeast believes market conditions are “unsettled” in his/her area.
“[Conditions are] not good—population and jobs [are] leaving to more conservative areas,” says another from the region.
And while one dry cleaner from the South says the market is “continuing to improve,” another says that, despite “stable” conditions, “We do continue to see a drop in drycleaning piece counts and an increase in laundry shirt piece counts.”
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.