CHICAGO — Self-service laundry sales were up in all four regions for a second straight month in February, according to the most recent AmericanCoinOp.com StatShot unscientific survey.
February sales in the South were up 6.8% (compared to February 2011 sales). Sixty percent of the respondents reported an increase in sales, while 20% reported a decrease. Sales were unchanged for 20% of respondents.
Sales in the Midwest rose 5.6% compared to February 2011 sales. Roughly 64% reported year-to-year sales increases, while 14.3% reported decreases. Sales were unchanged for 21.4% of respondents.
“My customer count is up 15% over last February,” a Midwest operator reported.
In the West, February sales were up 3.6%. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported a bump. “Coin sales very spotty,” reports an operator there. “Have added credit card readers to one-third of the Laundromat, which resulted in better results.”
February sales were up 2.4% in the Northeast, where 57% of respondents reported increases.
Despite the rise in sales overall, many operators offered gloomy comments. Some said their local markets are suffering because of the economy.
West — “Not good. Nearby businesses are dropping their rate to 75 cents per top loader!”
Midwest — “Maybe fair at best. The national media keeps reporting the economy is in the upswing, but I do not see or believe it.”
West — “The economic slowdown did not impact our rural area as quickly as most of the nation but is affecting us now. I had the lowest income in 14 years during November-January.”
Northeast — “Too much competition, but I am the best.”
Respondents were also asked about drop-off-service sales for February (compared to February 2011). Every region reported sales were up, but there was quite a bit of difference in two of the regions compared to the others.
In the Midwest, where 71.4% of respondents have offered drop-off service for two years or more, sales were up 7.1%. Twenty-one percent don’t offer drop-off service, and 7.1% didn’t offer drop-off service last year but they do now.
Southern operators saw their drop-off-service sales rise 6% in February from the previous year. Eighty percent of the respondents have offered this extra-profit service for at least two years.
Sales increases were much less in the Northeast (0.5%) and the West (0.4%). Fifty percent of Northeast operators have offered drop-off service for at least two years, while 58.3% of West operators have offered the service during that time.
“Coin laundry flat, but oil drilling clothes for drop-off is great income,” says a Midwest operator.
“We ran a great promo in February that really boosted drop-off,” adds another. “Drop-off is thegrowth segment for our business.”
AmericanCoinOp.com’s StatShot includes information on sales, wages, costs or other financial data based on anonymous survey information provided by industry owners and operators.
Audience members are invited to participate in these unscientific surveys, which are conducted online via a partner website, on a regular basis. Self-service laundry operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.