Times reports that drycleaners pressed hard by office exodus

Julian Stone, founder of American Dry Cleaning Company, got in touch to share an article he’d contributed to in The Times, along with other industry specialists.

Commenting to The Times, Stone said of driving around London to visit his 42 drycleaning shops: “It reminds me of 28 Days Later — the streets are empty. It is a ghost town.

“Drycleaning is driven by socialising, going to eat out, international travel, parties — all of that has come to a halt.” He’s finding it “difficult to be optimistic” at this time.

The Times article also stated that ‘drycleaners are among the biggest losers as city centres remain deserted. People working from home no longer need five office shirts ironed a week, and jeans or pyjamas replace “dryclean only” clothes.

The fact that couples and families are no longer going out to restaurants, big family birthday parties, weddings and Ascot, Wimbledon or other social summer events — all valuable sources of income for Britain’s more than 4,000 drycleaning firms — has also hit the trade.’

Drycleaners were allowed to stay open during lockdown as “essential services” but many bosses, including Stone, decided to shut and take furlough money to preserve cash as demand plummeted.

Despite reopening last month, each of his branches has cut its weekly hours from 70 to 20, and he will have to start laying off staff unless things pick up soon.

Adrian Redgate kept his shop, National Dry Cleaners, which was set up by his great-grandfather in Nottingham in 1897, open to help the “mostly elderly” customers who use its laundry service.

However, with just a trickle of people bringing in winter coats and duvets to be cleaned, sales were down 90 per cent between April and June.

“Even if you ran a business badly, you wouldn’t lose all your customers that quickly,” he said. “Until people start getting back to work on a regular basis, it will be hard for us to pick up again.”

James Timpson who runs the Timpson key-cutting and shoe repair business, which also owns Johnsons Cleaners, said dry-cleaning sales had halved. “There is nothing we can do but offer a really good service — and hold our nerve,” he said.

This article featured in The Times newspaper on Sunday 19 July.

Julian Stone, founder of American Dry Cleaning Company, got in touch to share an article he’d contributed to in The Times, along with other industry specialists.

Commenting to The Times, Stone said of driving around London to visit his 42 drycleaning shops: “It reminds me of 28 Days Later — the streets are empty. It is a ghost town.

“Drycleaning is driven by socialising, going to eat out, international travel, parties — all of that has come to a halt.” He’s finding it “difficult to be optimistic” at this time.

The Times article also stated that ‘drycleaners are among the biggest losers as city centres remain deserted. People working from home no longer need five office shirts ironed a week, and jeans or pyjamas replace “dryclean only” clothes.

The fact that couples and families are no longer going out to restaurants, big family birthday parties, weddings and Ascot, Wimbledon or other social summer events — all valuable sources of income for Britain’s more than 4,000 drycleaning firms — has also hit the trade.’

Drycleaners were allowed to stay open during lockdown as “essential services” but many bosses, including Stone, decided to shut and take furlough money to preserve cash as demand plummeted.

Despite reopening last month, each of his branches has cut its weekly hours from 70 to 20, and he will have to start laying off staff unless things pick up soon.

Adrian Redgate kept his shop, National Dry Cleaners, which was set up by his great-grandfather in Nottingham in 1897, open to help the “mostly elderly” customers who use its laundry service.

However, with just a trickle of people bringing in winter coats and duvets to be cleaned, sales were down 90 per cent between April and June.

“Even if you ran a business badly, you wouldn’t lose all your customers that quickly,” he said. “Until people start getting back to work on a regular basis, it will be hard for us to pick up again.”

James Timpson who runs the Timpson key-cutting and shoe repair business, which also owns Johnsons Cleaners, said dry-cleaning sales had halved. “There is nothing we can do but offer a really good service — and hold our nerve,” he said.

This article featured in The Times newspaper on Sunday 19 July.

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