CHICAGO — Drycleaners across the country are cutting into their profit margins in an effort to deal with sales that continue to plummet, according to American Drycleaner’s most recent StatShot survey.
Drycleaners in the West saw the biggest sales decrease for October 2009 compared to October 2008, with an 8.1% drop. The region also reported a cutback in profits of 8.3% for the month compared to the same month last year.
The other regions polled reported similar numbers: The Midwest reported an average 5.5% decrease in sales and a 16.0% cut in profits, the Northeast reported an average 5.1% decrease in sales and a 7.3% cut in profits, and the South reported an average 3.6% decrease in sales and a 7.0% cut in profits.
Taking a hit on profits is one of many ways that drycleaners are making ends meet. “[We’re] now running a much tighter ship than a year ago,” commented a drycleaner in the South. “High-end service is selling. Cash-and-carry is down. Delivery is a must,” said another.
“Manage your labor and expenses well, and you’ll be fine,” a drycleaner in the Northeast said.
The downturn in the economy still remains a constant migraine for many drycleaners, however. “Customer count remains fairly constant, but items per customer are down significantly,” said one drycleaner in the Midwest. “A number of shops closed or are becoming drop stores — even discounters are closing or changing locations,” said another.
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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