CHICAGO — Three of the four regions posted healthy gains in both March coin laundry sales and first-quarter sales, according to the recent AmericanCoinOp.com StatShot unscientific survey.
Leading the way in March was the Midwest, which posted a 5.2% gain compared to March 2012 and a 2.8% gain for the first quarter compared to one year earlier.
“[I’m] improving my store, keeping it clean and the equipment well-maintained,” says a store owner from the Midwest. “My competition is not doing this, and I’m benefitting.”
March sales were also up in the Northeast (3.8%) and West (3.0%) from the prior year. Both regions also saw gains in first-quarter sales—3.6% for the Northeast and 2.1% for the West—compared to January-March 2012.
Despite seeing an increase in recent sales, many store owners in the West report they are seeing little change in market conditions while the costs to operate their business increase.
“Conditions for my business are about the same as ever, but utilities and taxes are on the rise, so prices have to keep going up … to keep up,” says a store owner from the region.
“Market conditions are unchanged for the last three years,” echoes another. “People aren’t spending on anything that isn’t necessary.”
The South was the only region to report declining coin laundry sales, down 4.2% from March 2012 and 6.0% from first-quarter 2012. One store owner there attributes the lack of sales to local “tree farms going out of business.”
But while one industry has slowed coin laundry business there, another is contributing to a more positive outlook.
“After a very slow second half of 2012, and a terrible first quarter of 2013, things seem to be picking up,” says a respondent from the region. “Local construction has resumed, and as a result, so have drop-offs.”
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 anonymously online via a partner website, on a regular basis. Self-service laundry owners and operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.