The company says revenue from its core laundry facilities management business fell by 4.6% to $87.4million for the quarter ended 30 September, compared with the same period in 2008.

Net loss for the third quarter of 2009 was $386,000 compared to net income of $653,000 for the third quarter of 2008.

Mac-Gray’s earnings before interest expense, depreciation and other expenses, was $16.6m compared to $19.9m in the same period last year.

“Apartment vacancies nationwide are at their highest levels since 1986,” said CEO Stewart G MacDonald. “It appears that overall apartment occupancy will not begin to increase until employment levels begin to improve.”

However, the company’s operations are spread nationwide and as employment and apartment occupancy rates vary, the company’s exposure is somewhat balanced.

MacDonald attributed the downturn in Mac-Gray’s commercial laundry equipment sales to a lack of launderette openings and a slow-down in equipment replacement by both launderettes and multi-housing operations.

“As a result, year-to-date, product sales revenue is down 16% from the same period in 2008,” he said.

Mac-Gray reduced its funded debt by more than $6m in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date debt reduction to more than $28m.