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The Washing and Dry Cleaning Sector
The South African washing and dry cleaning industry is part of the personal services sector which, according to Statistics South Africa, contributed 5.9% to the country’s GDP. There are approximately 2,000 commercial dry cleaners and laundries and 130 state laundries that operate in the prison, parks board and hospital sectors. Added to these figures are the numerous single owner-operated or family-run businesses situated throughout the country. The industry employs more than 50,000 people and services clients across many sectors.
Challenges and Opportunities
In general, the current economic environment and resultant reduced household disposable income has meant a decrease in business in the sector. As the laundry and dry cleaning industry consumes large amounts of water and electricity, it has been impacted by the large increases in the price of these inputs. As a result, performance in the sector has been described as “flat” and businesses are focused on how to reduce costs. However, stakeholders believe that opportunities do exist. In the commercial sector, textile rental where the launderer supplies the textiles as well as washing them, was identified an area with potential, as was the need for laundry services and on-premise Laundromats in the growing number of high density residential areas.
The Washing and Dry Cleaning of Textiles and Fur Products report describes current conditions and recent developments including the establishment of the South African Textile Services Association (SATSA) which aims to provide the industrial laundry and dry cleaning industry with a set of professional standards. The report profiles nine companies including the only major group in the sector, Bidvest Laundry Services, which employs more than 3,000 people. Also profiled are domestic laundries and dry cleaners, Pressed In Time (Pty) Ltd which has 76 outlets nationwide, and Levingers Franchising (Pty) Ltd which has 65 outlets in Gauteng and offers numerous add-on services such as garment repair, shoe repairs and the cutting of keys.