Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Unifirst (UNF) to “Hold”

Unifirst (NYSE:UNF) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “UniFirst Corporation has become an industry leader and remains one of the fastest growing companies in the Uniform and Textile Services business. Its business is the rental Lease and Sale of work clothing, uniforms, protective apparel, careerwear, and facility service products to businesses in virtually all industrial categories. The major portion of the Company’s business is Uniform Rental Service Programs, wherein it provides customers with all necessary products plus weekly cleaning, maintenance, and any needed replacements of work clothing. The Company became the first private industrial launderer to be granted a government license to process nuclear-contaminated garments. The Company has developed a separate division, UniTech Services Group, which now includes specialized plants throughout the United States and in Europe. UniFirst is a national leader in cleaning and decontaminating the garments worn by workers who maintain and refuel nuclear power and nuclear processing equipment. “

Several other research firms have also recently weighed in on UNF. Northcoast Research restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Unifirst in a report on Thursday, October 19th. Robert W. Baird boosted their price target on Unifirst from $163.00 to $171.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Thursday, October 19th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Unifirst has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $165.00.

Unifirst (NYSE:UNF) traded down $0.05 during trading hours on Wednesday, hitting $168.90. The stock had a trading volume of 52,700 shares, compared to its average volume of 57,086. The company has a market capitalization of $3,425.46, a PE ratio of 32.00, a P/E/G ratio of 3.21 and a beta of 0.74. Unifirst has a 52 week low of $124.85 and a 52 week high of $171.80.

Unifirst (NYSE:UNF) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 18th. The textile maker reported $1.44 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.24 by $0.20. The company had revenue of $403.60 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $392.15 million. Unifirst had a return on equity of 7.53% and a net margin of 4.40%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 10.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.27 earnings per share. sell-side analysts forecast that Unifirst will post 5.26 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, VP David Martin Katz sold 1,060 shares of Unifirst stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $168.15, for a total value of $178,239.00. Following the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 2,667 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $448,456.05. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. Also, VP Michael A. Croatti sold 1,216 shares of Unifirst stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $168.99, for a total value of $205,491.84. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 3,375 shares in the company, valued at $570,341.25. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.00% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of UNF. Riverhead Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in Unifirst by 83.2% in the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 1,099 shares of the textile maker’s stock valued at $155,000 after buying an additional 499 shares during the period. Sei Investments Co. raised its position in shares of Unifirst by 26,600.0% during the third quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 1,068 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $162,000 after purchasing an additional 1,064 shares during the period. Shelton Capital Management acquired a new position in shares of Unifirst during the second quarter worth approximately $216,000. Amalgamated Bank raised its position in shares of Unifirst by 2.0% during the second quarter. Amalgamated Bank now owns 2,086 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $294,000 after purchasing an additional 40 shares during the period. Finally, Eaton Vance Management acquired a new position in shares of Unifirst during the second quarter worth approximately $300,000. 74.07% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Unifirst Company Profile

UniFirst Corporation is a provider of workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States. The Company designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, aprons and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.

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