CHICAGO — Self-service laundry owners saw a modest overall sales decline in February compared to February 2009, but experienced a larger drop in vending sales, according to a recent AmericanCoinOp.com StatShot survey.Survey respondents in the West and Midwest saw a similar decline in sales for February, with store owners in the two regions reporting an average 4.16% and 4.12% drop, respectively. The Northeast experienced a 4.9% sales decline in February, while the South saw a smaller decline, 2.6%. Southern operators fared a little better in February when compared to January sales figures. January sales declined 11.1% from 2009.One Southern operator claimed new equipment prevented a sales drop. “By putting in new, big washers, and taking the old ones out, I saved on water and my revenue stayed the same. Otherwise, I would have been down 15- 20%.”Weather may have affected February sales. “I had a decrease in sales due to heavy snow and poor weather conditions during February,” said one Midwest operator. “Severe winter storms killed sales, and you just don’t get it all back,” echoed another Midwest operator.A good number of operators believe that sales would have risen in February if the harsh winter storms hadn’t hit.It was much tougher on the vending side in February 2010 sales compared to February 2009. Operators in the West saw a 6.16% drop in vending sales, while operators in the Northeast saw sales tumble 8.6%. In the Midwest, sales were down 8%. The Southern respondents took the biggest hit — they saw vending sales slide 14.4%.A good number of respondents were unsure about why vending sales were off. "My vending sales are weird," a Midwest operator said. "The pop machine is consistent, yet the soap machines go up and down from one week to another."AmericanCoinOp.com’s StatShot includes information on sales, wages, costs and 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.