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UniFirst 1Q results top Street's view; ups outlook

WILMINGTON, Mass. (AP) -- UniFirst's first-quarter topped Wall Street expectations and the uniform company raised its annual earnings and revenue forecasts above what analysts had been predicting Thursday, sending shares to an all-time high.

For the period ended Nov. 24, UniFirst Corp. earned $30.8 million, or $1.54 per share. That compares with $25.8 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts expected earnings of $1.33 per share, according to a FactSet survey.

UniFirst's shares jumped 10 percent, or $7.83, to $83.53 in early trading. The stock touched $88.35 earlier in the session.

The company benefited from favorable exchange rates.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $332.6 million from $313 million. Wall Street predicted $326.3 million in revenue.

Revenue for UniFirst's core laundry operations climbed 8.2 percent to $294.6 million, while specialty garments revenue dropped 7.9 percent to $27.9 million.

UniFirst Corp. now foresees fiscal 2013 earnings between $5.10 and $5.25 per share on revenue in a range of $1.34 billion to $1.35 billion. Its prior guidance was for earnings of $4.65 to $4.85 per share on revenue between $1.33 billion to $1.34 billion.

Analysts expect earnings of $4.87 per share on revenue of $1.33 billion.