CHICAGO — Coin laundry store owners in the Midwest faced a bitterly cold January, as year-over-year sales in the region dropped 12.3%, according to results from this month’s American Coin-Op StatShot survey.
Store owners in the Northeast also faced a sales slump last month, as January sales fell an even 5% compared to last year.
Stores in the South and West fared better, as January sales were up 2.5% and 6.5%, respectively, compared to the same month last year.
“[Market conditions are] bad due to cold and snow here in the Northeast,” says a store owner from that region.
“Terrible weather [equals] terrible business,” echoes a Midwest store owner, with another store owner there blaming the “polar vortex” for weak January sales.
Regarding market conditions in his/her area, one store owner from the West says business is “excellent, as we are next to a new RV park, and an existing RV park is on the next street.”
Store owners in the West also reported strong sales numbers for calendar year 2013, up 9.5% compared to 2012, marking the largest annual increase among all regions.
Store owners in the Northeast and South also reported sales increases for the year, up 3.8% and 3.0%, respectively. Annual sales in the Midwest dipped 0.3% from 2012.
“There are two more laundries in my area, so the pie is cut into smaller pieces,” says a store owner in the Midwest. “[We are] still making money, but working more hours to minimize payroll.”
“Average [spending] per customer is growing, but the total number of customers is shrinking as they relocate or lose government assistance,” says a Northeast store owner.
“Market conditions are better, generally, but the Clean Water Act is forcing major increases in water/sewage charges,” says a store owner from the South.
The unscientific StatShot survey includes information on sales, wages, costs or other financial data based on anonymous survey information provided by industry owners and operators.
American Coin-Op audience members are invited via e-mail to participate in the surveys, which are conducted online via a partner website. All self-service laundry owners and operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.