CHICAGO — Operators in three regions saw sales rise slightly in May, according to a recent AmericanCoinOp.com StatShot survey.In the South, May sales (compared to 2009) were up 1.16%. About 57% of the Southern operators reported a rise in sales, while 29% saw sales dip. Sales stayed the same for 14% of respondents.For several Southern operators, an increase in the number of nearby renters has led to a bump in sales. For a couple of operators, store closings have positively affected their bottom line.Midwest operators saw sales increase 1.23%. Fifty-three percent had a sales increase, and only 23% saw sales drop. Sales stayed the same for 24% of the respondents.“The market seems to be recovering, and customers seem to be more willing to spend,” says one Midwest operator. Another called May sales a “record month.” However, not all the sentiment was positive. “Just when I think it can’t get any worse, it gets worse,” one operator lamented.Northeast operators experienced the largest May increase, 2.35%. Fifty-seven percent of respondents had a sales increase, while equal portions (21.5%) saw sales decrease and remain the same.While there is some optimism in the Northeast for traditional laundry service picking up, respondents are still a bit cautious about predicting any type of drop-off service revenue increase in the near future. Most say this traditional extra service is still down, or flat, at best.In the West, sales were down 2%. Equal portions (40%) of respondents experienced monthly increases and decreases, and 20% saw sales stay the same.Western operators seem more frustrated than other regional operators. More of them are complaining about “dead” markets due to a lack of jobs, etc.As we near the halfway mark of the year, May was the first month that sales increased in three regions. January sales were down in three regions, and sales were down in every region in February. Sales were up in two regions in March and April.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. Subscribers to American Coin-Op’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.Click here and follow the menu instructions to sign up for the free e-mail service.