CHICAGO — Fourth-quarter 2012 self-service laundry sales rose in three of four regions despite declines across much of the nation in December, according to results of this month’s AmericanCoinOp.com anonymous, unscientific StatShot survey.
The Midwest was the big winner, with December sales up 5.3% compared to December 2011 and fourth-quarter sales up 5.6% from the prior year.
“Starting to do better,” offers one operator. Another says, “Pretty good. Apartments are full, so traffic is up!” And another: “Good, getting better.”
The West also saw sales increases for the two reporting periods, albeit smaller than the Midwest’s. Fourth-quarter sales were 3.0% better than those in fourth-quarter 2011, while December sales were up but only by 0.1%.
“Improving, (and) looking more like old times,” remarked a West store owner. But another says the area near his/her California business has suffered since the state’s prisons started releasing offenders last summer due to overcrowding.
Sales in the South were up 1.3% during the fourth quarter but down 5.7% for December. And remarks from respondents regarding current market conditions seemed to follow this dichotomy. A couple of operators called conditions there “good” or “steady,” while another says they are “dismal.”
The Northeast saw sales drops during both periods: 6.2% in December and 4.1% in the fourth quarter.
Comments such as “bad” and “slow” were fairly common, but one operator offered some hope of better things to come for the region: “For the first time in a couple of years, sales are up. A recent discussion with several other competitors seemed to indicate that sales are gradually improving in our marketplace.”
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.