Short Interest in UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) Grows By 54.7%

UniFirst Corp (NYSE:UNF) saw a large growth in short interest in the month of June. As of June 15th, there was short interest totalling 233,000 shares, a growth of 54.7% from the May 15th total of 150,600 shares. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 116,900 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 2.0 days. Currently, 1.6% of the shares of the company are short sold.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on the stock. Zacks Investment Research reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of Western New England Bancorp in a research note on Saturday, June 29th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded shares of Sogou from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and dropped their target price for the stock from $5.50 to $4.12 in a research report on Thursday, June 27th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Zogenix from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 27th.

UNF traded down $1.69 on Friday, reaching $188.80. 110,708 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 144,339. UniFirst has a twelve month low of $132.38 and a twelve month high of $192.39. The company’s 50 day simple moving average is $175.82. The company has a market capitalization of $3.59 billion, a P/E ratio of 25.34 and a beta of 0.74.

UniFirst (NYSE:UNF) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, June 26th. The textile maker reported $2.46 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.70 by $0.76. The company had revenue of $453.72 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $441.70 million. UniFirst had a net margin of 9.21% and a return on equity of 9.67%. UniFirst’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $1.85 earnings per share. Analysts expect that UniFirst will post 7.66 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 27th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 6th will be paid a dividend of $0.1125 per share. This represents a $0.45 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.24%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 5th. UniFirst’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 6.04%.

In other UniFirst news, VP David A. Difillippo sold 883 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $157.85, for a total transaction of $139,381.55. Following the sale, the vice president now directly owns 11,162 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,761,921.70. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, VP David A. Difillippo sold 874 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, April 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $157.76, for a total transaction of $137,882.24. Following the sale, the vice president now owns 11,162 shares in the company, valued at $1,760,917.12. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 1,928 shares of company stock worth $305,112 over the last three months. 1.00% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Comerica Bank boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Comerica Bank now owns 15,185 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $2,059,000 after purchasing an additional 99 shares during the last quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund purchased a new stake in UniFirst in the fourth quarter worth approximately $840,000. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 3.3% in the fourth quarter. Piedmont Investment Advisors Inc. now owns 3,668 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $525,000 after purchasing an additional 117 shares during the last quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 35.3% in the fourth quarter. Virginia Retirement Systems ET AL now owns 2,300 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $329,000 after purchasing an additional 600 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First Trust Advisors LP boosted its holdings in UniFirst by 4.0% in the fourth quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 26,871 shares of the textile maker’s stock worth $3,844,000 after purchasing an additional 1,030 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 77.07% of the company’s stock.

UniFirst Company Profile

UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Europe, and Canada. The company operates through U.S. Rental and Cleaning, Canadian Rental and Cleaning, Manufacturing, Specialty Garments Rental and Cleaning, and First Aid segments. It designs, manufactures, personalizes, rents, cleans, delivers, and sells a range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, lab coats, smocks, and aprons; and specialized protective wear, such as flame resistant and high visibility garments.

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