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UniFirst profit up, raises forecast

WILMINGTON — UniFirst Corp. said Wednesday that its net income jumped 39 percent in its fiscal second quarter on improved revenue. The results beat expectations and the uniform company increased its full-year forecast.

Shares rose 1.41 percent to close at $89.82. They briefly rose to a record high earlier in the session.

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UniFirst chief executive Ronald Croatti said he is pleased with the company’s performance, particularly given the challenging economic environment. He said businesses remain hesitant to add new costs, including new employees who are potential wearers of UniFirst’s uniforms.

The Wilmington-based company earned $26.6 million, or $1.33 per share, for the quarter. That’s up from $19.2 million, or 96 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose nearly 8 percent to $334.3 million from $310 million with gains in its core laundry operations and a decline in its specialty garment segment.

Analysts expected earnings of $1.13 on revenue of $329.1 million.

The company said that based on the strength of the first half of its year, it is increasing its full-year earnings forecast. UniFirst expects to earn between $5.65 and $5.80 per share for its 2013 fiscal year on revenue between $1.34 billion and $1.35 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $5.22 on revenue of $1.34 billion for the year.

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