One in Six Dry Cleaners Have Closed During COVID, More Facing Similar Fate Due to Work From Home
Few businesses have been hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than dry cleaners, and it might be a long time before the industry bounces back.
One in six dry cleaners have already gone out of business nationwide since the pandemic began, according to a recent report from San Francisco’s KGO-TV, which cited data from the National Cleaners Association. Some industry officials believe that figure will only keep rising in the coming months.
It’s not hard to figure out why the dry cleaning industry has been devastated by COVID-19. With so many employees forced to work from home during the pandemic — and with so many other businesses either closing or cutting back their operations — demand for dry-cleaning services has seen a huge decline.
In November, Bloomberg, citing NCA estimates, reported that the U.S. dry cleaning industry was probably booking only half the $7 billion in revenue it did before the pandemic. More than 90% of owners weren’t taking paychecks during the pandemic, and roughly half were paying workers out of their savings, Bloomberg reported.
Even when the pandemic subsides, a shift in work culture could mean that many employees will keep working from home, contributing to continued weak demand for dry cleaners.
NBC News, citing data from a Pew Research Center survey, recently reported that more than half of employees want to keep working from home even after the coronavirus outbreak ends. This has led many American corporations to reconsider their policies governing office spaces, with many adopting a hybrid model in which employees will shift between working at home and working at company offices.
This does not bode well for the dry cleaning industry. A representative from the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute told NBC News that up to 30% of dry cleaners could close within the next 18 months.
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