CHICAGO — Drycleaning sales nationwide took a hit during the first quarter of 2008, according to a panel of operators tapped by AmericanDrycleaner.com to provide financial and cost data anonymously for use at the site, with an average 14.6% drop.
Operators in the Western states fared the worst in year-to-year comparisons for the three-month period, suffering an average 27.4% decrease in business from first-quarter 2007. Drycleaners in the South experienced a 13.0% decrease in sales, close to the national average.
Operators in the Midwest reported improved business, with a 16.5% increase in sales on average, while the Northeast’s statistical sample was too small to include. The substantial increases seen in the Midwest could not balance poor sales in the West and South, however.
“The low in this recession will be as deep as the high was in our real-estate boom,” writes one respondent based in southern Florida. “In other words, it’s going to get worse this summer. We are not losing customers so much as they are just spending less. One look at the conveyor, and you can see that people only clean the essentials.”
AmericanDrycleaner.com needs your help with future StatShot surveys, and particularly if you are located in the Northeast. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org today to join the survey panel.