UniFirst shares jump on fiscal 4Q profit beat

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Shares of UniFirst Corp. rose Wednesday after the uniform company said that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose 25 percent, although it issued a modest full-year forecast due to concerns about high unemployment.

The company said it enters its 2013 fiscal year with a "high level of uncertainty" regarding employment levels and the economy as a whole.

UniFirst, based in Wilmington, Mass., provides workplace uniforms, protective clothing and other work products and as a result, is directly impacted by employment trends.

The company earned $22.5 million, or $1.13 per share, for the quarter that ended Aug. 25. That compares with $18 million, or 90 cents per share, earned in the same quarter last year. Revenue increased to $312.4 million from $290.9 million.

Analysts forecast earnings of $1.05 per share and $313 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company expects to earn $4.65 to $4.85 per share in the 2013 fiscal year on revenue of $1.33 billion to $1.34 billion. Analysts forecast $4.83 per share on revenue of $1.33 billion.

Shares of Unifirst rose $2.36, or 3.5 percent, to $69.77 in afternoon trading.