CHICAGO — Many analysts are pointing to signs that the economy may have finally hit bottom and say that improvement could be on the way, but drycleaners across the country continue to report declining sales for March, as well as the first quarter of 2009, according to a recent AmericanDrycleaner.com StatShot survey.
Drycleaners in the South have taken an especially big hit this month. When comparing March 2009 to the same month last year, drycleaners in the South report an average 15.1% decrease in sales, down from a 9.8% decrease reported in February. The West followed closely with an average 9.5% decrease. In the Midwest, drycleaners report an average 5.6% decrease, and in the Northeast, they report an average 2.2% decrease.
The South was also hit hardest in the first quarter of 2009 compared to first-quarter 2008, with drycleaners in the region reporting an average 13.9% drop. In the West, drycleaners report an average 9.3% drop. In the Midwest, sales were down 5.9%, and in the Northeast, sales fell 4.8%.
“Business had dropped down, and I think it is going to drop more as unemployment numbers are going up,” explains one drycleaner in the hard-hit South. “April doesn’t look good either,” says another.
Some drycleaners echoed the analysts, however, pointing out a few positive signs. “Although sales were once again down in March, the decline was less than in the previous months and the quarter as a whole,” says one drycleaner in the West. “I only can pray that things are turning around.”
In the Northeast, which had the smallest drop in sales of the four regions polled, one drycleaner says, “Conditions are improving. Some of the weeks in April have been up from April 2008.”
AmericanDrycleaner.com’s StatShot includes information on sales, wages, costs and other financial data based on anonymous survey information provided by industry operators. Subscribers to American Drycleaner’s Wire e-mails are invited to participate in these unscientific surveys, which are conducted online via a partner website, on a regular basis. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.
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