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Third-Quarter Sales Fall, Signs Show Stabilizing Market

Ian P. Murphy |

CHICAGO — Led by declines in the Southern states, drycleaning sales fell 3.4% nationwide in the third quarter, according to the most recent survey of AmericanDrycleaner.com’s StatShot panel, a group of industry operators who contribute financial information anonymously for use at the site.
While the nationwide average pointed to a decline in sales, the marketplace seems to be stabilizing. Operators in the West reported only a slight decrease or flat year-to-year results for the quarter including July, August and September, compared to the massive falloff in sales they experienced during the second quarter. Likewise, operators in the Northeast reported an average decrease of just 1.6%.
The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) shrank at an annualized rate of 0.3% during the same period, the Commerce Department reported last week. Two consecutive quarters of contraction in the GDP is the accepted definition of a recession; since consumers view at least some of their spending on drycleaning as discretionary, the industry may be ahead of that curve.
One drycleaner in the South reported that sales fell about 30% in the third quarter, with almost no decline in sales among one group of premium customers. “Retail counter sales were affected most,” the operator says. “Route sales remained flat compared to last year.”
To ensure accuracy, AmericanDrycleaner.com needs your help with future StatShot surveys. Responses are kept strictly confidential to protect proprietary financial information. E-mail drycleaner@crain.com today to join the StatShot survey panel!
 

About the author

Ian P. Murphy

American Drycleaner

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.

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