(By Balaseshan) UniFirst Corp. (NYSE: UNF), a provider of workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing, reported a 19.2% jump in quarterly earnings on improved operating leverage that came with its strong Core Laundry Operations revenue growth.
Earnings for the first quarter were $30.76 million or $1.54 per share, up from $25.80 million or $1.30 per share last year.
Revenue increased 6.2% to $332.57 million.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a profit of $1.33 per share on revenue of $327.27 million for the first quarter.
Revenue from Core Laundry Operations grew 8.2% to $294.6 million. Excluding the effect of a stronger Canadian dollar, revenues grew 8.0%.
[Related -Stock Market Opening Report - 01/04/2013]
Revenues for the Specialty Garments segment, which consists of nuclear decontamination and cleanroom operations, fell 7.9% to $27.9 million. First Aid revenue declined 3.4% to $10.13 million.
Looking ahead into the fiscal 2013, the company increased its earnings guidance to range of $5.10 to $5.25 per share from previous forecast of $4.65 to $4.85 per share.
UniFirst also lifted its revenue outlook to range of $1.335 billion to $1.348 billion from previous estimate of $1.325 billion to $1.338 billion. Street analysts predict profit of $4.82 per share on revenue of $1.33 billion for the fiscal 2013.
The company said its guidance assumes no deterioration of the U.S. economy and also includes one extra week of operations compared to fiscal 2012 due to the timing of its fiscal calendar.
[Related -Stock Market Opening Report - December 28,2012]
"Based on the strength of our first quarter and our current outlook for the remainder of the year, we are increasing our full year guidance," said Ronald Croatti, UniFirst President and Chief Executive Officer.
UNF closed Wednesday's regular session at $75.70. The stock has been trading between $55.86 and $77.73 for the past 52 weeks.