Salons see uptick in business as economy improves

By Hadley Malcolm, USA TODAY

One sure sign that the economy is starting to hum: Women are ditching do-it-yourself dye jobs and heading back to the hair salon.

Jenny Park, right, cuts Diana Lee's hair at Kim Sun Young beauty salon in Chicago.

Nam Y. Huh, APJenny Park, right, cuts Diana Lee’s hair at Kim Sun Young beauty salon in Chicago.

Apparently, it’s one kind of satisfaction to clip coupons, but a far different kind to get your hair clipped — and permed and dyed.

“One thing we may be seeing now is people are feeling the economy is a little stronger and going to the beauty salon more frequently,” says Greg Mulholland, a Sageworks financial analyst.

While salon visits may have dropped off as consumers looked for ways to save during the economic downturn, the data show that now they may be visiting salons more frequently, opting for more expensive treatments when they visit or buying more products from the salon, Mulholland says.

And while sales growth slowed in 2008 and 2009, salons have continued to experience a steady profit rise as they reap the benefits of cutting costs during the recession. Profits grew 6.4% from 2008 to 2009 and 7.8% in the last two years, the Sageworks data show. Combined with the recent sales increase, salons are now “making more sales and keeping more money from each sale,” Mulholland says.

Just ask ’em.

Barb Shaeffer-Perrigo, co-owner of the Studio B! salon in Huntersville, N.C., says starting in 2008, many customers who typically came in every five weeks started coming in every seven weeks and that clients were dying their own hair. In the past year, business started to return to pre-recession levels.

“Services for each individual stylist have increased tremendously in the last year,” Shaeffer-Perrigo says.

And there’s hope for salons beyond the recovery.

U.S. News and World Report last month listed hairdresser as one of the best jobs of 2012, citing a Bureau of Labor Statistics projection of 15.7% employment growth for hairdressers by 2020.

After all, while income may stop growing in a bum economy, hair doesn’t.


Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!