UniFirst (NYSE: UNF) came in right in line with the Street's expectations last quarter, but investors are hoping that it will beat them this quarter. The company will unveil its latest earnings on Wednesday, June 29. UniFirst designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a wide range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, aprons, and specialized protective wear.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or hold?: Analysts think investors should stand pat on UniFirst with five of six analysts rating it a hold. Analysts don't like UniFirst as much as competitor Healthcare Services Group overall. Three out of six analysts rate Healthcare Services Group a buy compared to one of six for UniFirst. That rating hasn't budged in three months as analysts have remained unchanged in their opinion of the stock.
  • Revenue Forecasts: On average, analysts predict $278.1 million in revenue this quarter. That would represent a rise of 6.5% from the year-ago quarter.
  • Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average analyst is estimating earnings of 85 cents per share. Estimates range from 81 cents to 87 cents.

What our community says:
CAPS All Stars are solidly backing the stock with 96.4% giving it an "outperform" rating. The community at large concurs with the All Stars with 89.7% granting it a rating of "outperform." Fools are keen on UniFirst, though the message boards have been quiet lately with only 26 posts in the past 30 days. The bullish CAPS rating of five out of five stars for UniFirst outpaces community enthusiasm for the company.

Management:
UniFirst's income has fallen year over year by an average of 2.1%. Revenue has now gone up for three straight quarters.

Let's look at how efficient management is at running the business. Traditionally, margins represent the efficiency with which companies capture portions of sales dollars. The following table shows gross and net margins over the past four quarters.

Quarter

Q2

Q1

Q4

Q3

Gross Margin

36.7%

40.2%

38.8%

39.3%

Net Margin

5.8%

8.7%

6.8%

7.4%

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