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UniFirst Announces Financial Results for Fiscal 2000 First Quarter, Declares Dividends.

Business Editors

WILMINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 11, 2000

UniFirst Corporation (NYSE:UNF) today announced revenues and earnings for its fiscal 2000 first quarter, the thirteen weeks ended November 27, 1999, and declared quarterly cash dividends.

Revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2000 were a record $131.8 million, a 13.3 percent increase from $116.3 million in the same period a year ago. First quarter net income was $5.5 million, or $0.28 per share, a 42.0 percent decrease from last year's $9.4 million, or $0.46 per share.

"Our revenue growth is encouraging" commented Ronald D. Croatti, UniFirst's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We continue to see improvement in our internal growth, which was 7.7 percent in this year's first quarter compared with 2.6 percent last year. The investments we've made in professional sales training, national, catalog and internet sales are beginning to pay off. As expected, our profits remain pressured as we continue to assimilate last year's acquisitions and deal with ongoing increases in labor, fuel and other operating costs. Beyond this, a major impact came from a comparative year-to-year increase in merchandise expense. In last year's first quarter we realized a benefit of approximately 3% of revenues compared to this year's first quarter due to a change we made in estimated lives for rental merchandise in service, from primarily 12 months to primarily 15 months. This benefit was absent in the fiscal 2000 first quarter."

The Company's Board of Directors declared regular quarterly cash dividends of $0.0375 per share (3.75 cents) on the Company's Common Stock and $0.03 per share (3.0 cents) on the Company's Class B Common Stock. Both dividends are payable on March 31, 2000, to shareholders of record on March 10, 2000. During the past year, the Company repurchased over a million shares of its common stock, underlining management's optimism about the future.

UniFirst is one of the largest providers of workplace uniforms and protective clothing in the United States. The Company employs 7,500 team partners who serve well over 100,000 customer locations in 45 states, Canada and Europe from 146 manufacturing, distribution and customer service facilities.

The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor for certain forward-looking statements. This public announcement contains forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current views with respect to future events and financial performance. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. The words "anticipate" and "should," and other expressions that indicate future events and trends identify forward-looking statements. Actual future results may differ materially from those anticipated depending on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, performance of acquisitions; economic and business changes; fluctuations in the cost of materials and labor; strikes and unemployment levels; demand and price for the Company's products and services; improvement in under performing rental operations; and the outcome of pending and future litigation and environmental matters.

 Thirteen Thirteen
 weeks ended weeks ended
 November 27, November 28,
 1999 1998

Revenues $131,790,000 $116,335,000

Costs and expenses:
 Operating costs 81,839,000 66,488,000
 Selling and administrative expenses 31,023,000 26,989,000
 Depreciation and amortization 8,531,000 7,258,000
 121,393,000 100,735,000

Income from operations 10,397,000 15,600,000

Interest expense (income):
 Interest expense 1,709,000 712,000
 Interest income (119,000) (58,000)
 1,590,000 654,000

Income before income taxes 8,807,000 14,946,000
Provision for income taxes 3,347,000 5,530,000

Net income $5,460,000 $9,416,000

Weighted average number of shares
 outstanding -
 basic & diluted 19,689,592 20,510,608

Net income per share - basic & diluted $0.28 $0.46


 November 27, August 28, November 28,
 1999 1999(a) 1998
Current assets:
 Cash $2,101,000 $2,912,000 $7,385,000
 Receivables 57,986,000 51,786,000 45,634,000
 Inventories 22,055,000 27,194,000 23,804,000
 Rental merchandise in
 service 57,688,000 55,631,000 47,361,000
 Prepaid expenses 205,000 199,000 202,000

 Total current assets 140,035,000 137,722,000 124,386,000

Property and equipment:
 Land, buildings and
 leasehold improvements 180,736,000 174,979,000 154,667,000
 Machinery and equipment 196,343,000 190,722,000 168,316,000
 Motor vehicles 49,686,000 49,396,000 41,887,000
 426,765,000 415,097,000 364,870,000
 Less - accumulated
 depreciation 179,480,000 172,912,000 152,118,000
 247,285,000 242,185,000 212,752,000

Other assets 88,677,000 85,720,000 56,220,000
 $475,997,000 $465,627,000 $393,358,000

Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
Current liabilities:
 Current maturities of
 long-term obligations $1,619,000 $1,911,000 $1,140,000
 Notes payable 2,394,000 2,331,000 2,509,000
 Accounts payable 18,277,000 17,659,000 17,918,000
 Accrued liabilities 49,547,000 46,659,000 47,964,000
 Accrued and deferred
 income taxes 10,205,000 7,754,000 4,961,000

 Total current
 liabilities 82,042,000 76,314,000 74,492,000

Long-term obligations,
 net of current maturities 114,172,000 111,194,000 44,602,000
Deferred income taxes 20,931,000 20,686,000 18,743,000

Shareholders' equity:
 Common stock 1,050,000 1,050,000 1,022,000
 Class B common stock 1,026,000 1,026,000 1,029,000
 Treasury stock (20,049,000) (16,583,000) --
 Capital surplus 12,438,000 12,438,000 7,078,000
 Retained earnings 266,250,000 261,450,000 248,807,000
 Accumulated other
 comprehensive income (1,863,000) (1,948,000) (2,415,000)

 Total shareholders'
 equity 258,852,000 257,433,000 255,521,000
 $475,997,000 $465,627,000 $393,358,000

(a) Condensed from audited financial statements
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 11, 2000
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