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August 2004
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News Items - August 2004

Best Manufacturing Group LLC Announces Acquisition – Artex International, Inc.

Jersey City, NJ , June 28 (company release) - Best Manufacturing Group LLC announced that is has acquired Artex International, Inc. Headquartered in Highland , IL , Artex is a manufacturer and supplier of textiles and garments for the U.S. textile rental and hospitality markets.

Commenting on the acquisition, Scott Korman, chairman and CEO of Best said, “We are delighted to have the Artex organization join the Best team. The associates of Artex complement Best Manufacturing with over 70 years of knowledge and accomplishments. Artex’s institutional product lines, combined with deep manufacturing expertise, world-wide market coverage and accomplished global sourcing will allow us to provide our customers the best product offerings and the most diverse mix of value-added services available in the institutional textiles marketplace anywhere in the world.”

Terry Anderson, chairman and CEO of Artex, commented: “As the textile industry goes through what industry analysts say is ‘epochal change,’ there is only one company today that is positioned to move forward – Best Manufacturing. Textile rental companies want a trusted continuous source of product and we are happy to be part of the Best team.”

Best Manufacturing, founded in 1914, services the textile rental, hospitality, healthcare and image apparel markets with a wide range of products including napery, uniforms and other textile products. The company is headquartered in New Jersey and has operations based in Massachusetts , Georgia , South Carolina , Illinois , Texas , Nevada , Canada and Mexico .

The acquisition of Artex is part of Best’s strategy to focus on its core textile and garment businesses, expand product and service offerings and grow through acquisition. This acquisition also represents the realization of Artex’s vision for combining global manufacturing with first-rate sales capabilities. In 2002, Best acquired H.W. Baker Linen, now functioning as a fully integrated member of the Best family as its hospitality business. Best remains committed to its relationship with Milliken & Company and views the addition of Artex to the team as an asset to an already strong alliance.

Artex International, Inc, founded in 1933, is a leading manufacturer and supplier of textiles and garments for the textile rental and hospitality markets in the U.S. and abroad. The company is a full line integrated manufacturer from weaving fabric to producing a finished product. Headquartered in Highland , IL , Artex has distribution centers and manufacturing facilities in the U.S. , Asia and Mexico.

Terry Anderson, Artex’s existing chairman and CEO, will lead a newly formed subsidiary of Best as President and CEO, reporting to Best Chairman and CEO, Scott Korman.

The company will conduct business as Best:Artex LLC. The combined operations will have expansive geographic coverage and the deepest distribution capabilities in the institutional textiles marketplace. Customers will benefit from a broader line of product choices, expanded services, and a larger field sales force.

For more information, contact Debbie Seife, Best Manufacturing, 201-825-2000 x7239, or visit www.bestmfg.com

Cintas Posts 35 th Consecutive Year of Growth in Revenue Earnings

CINCINNATI , OH , JULY 12, (company release) – Cintas Corporation (Nasdaq: CTAS) today reported record revenue for fiscal 2004 of $2.81 billion, a 5 percent increase from last year’s $2.69 billion. The company also reported a 9 percent increase in net income of $272.2 million compared to $249.3 million last year. After-tax margins were a solid 9.7% of revenue. Earnings per diluted share of $1.58 increased 9% from last year’s $1.45 per diluted share.

Scott D. Farmer, Chief Executive Officer of Cintas, stated, “On behalf of our Cintas employee-partners, I am proud to report our 35th consecutive year of uninterrupted growth in sales and profits. In addition to achieving this milestone, we experienced healthy improvements in profitability, cash flow and balance sheet strength. This was accomplished while finalizing the integration of the largest uniform rental acquisition in the Company’s history, Omni Services, Inc. The Other Services segment of our business, which includes uniform sales, first aid and safety services and other business services, also saw improvements in sales growth, profit margins and productivity.”

Cintas reported record revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter, ended May 31, of $738 million, an increase of 9 percent from last year’s $676 million. The Company also reported record net income for the quarter of $72.7 million, up 12 percent from $65.2 million last year. Earnings of $.42 per diluted share, were up 11 percent from last year. “For the fourth quarter, our organic growth in the rental business was 5.3% while our other services segment grew 3.7%, all on a comparable workday basis. Both segments showed sequential improvements in organic growth compared to our third quarter results,” Mr. Farmer stated.

Mr. Farmer continued, “We expect revenue for fiscal 2005 in the range of $3.0 billion to $3.2 billion, with full year earnings per share (diluted) in the range of $1.70 to $1.80, assuming a continued improvement in the economy. We continue to see opportunities to expand our customer base and leverage our vast geographic presence and nationwide distribution and sales network.”

Headquartered in Cincinnati , Ohio , Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types throughout North America . Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, and first aid and safety products and services for over 500,000 businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CTAS, and is a Nasdaq-100 company and component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The Company has achieved 35 consecutive years of growth in sales and earnings, to date.

For more information, visit www.cintas.com

2 Cool 4 School; Public School Uniform Codes Don’t Keep Teens From Being Fashionable

FT. WORTH , Texas , July 6 (PRNewswire) -- Parents like them and kids hate them -- school uniforms, that is. But with an estimated 1 million public school students now wearing mandatory attire, finally there's a teen choice that makes fashion sense too, just in time for the first bell.

This summer, DICKIES is adding a new junior's school uniform line for girls, and many retailers are beefing up their Dickies men's selection to meet growing school, job and weekend demands for the brand.

Because Dickies is hugely popular among teens, whose idols like Outkast, Blink 182, Avril Lavigne, Justin Timberlake and Adam Brody ("The O.C.") favor the authentic American work apparel brand, Dickies affordable new junior's line is expected to make uniform compliance more appealing and easier on kids, parents and schools.

Dickies junior's (sizes 3-13) are staples like khaki pants, navy skirts and white blouses, but have a style edge that won't make Teacher loose her cool. For example, Dickies low-rise flare leg stretch pants come in code- friendly colors like navy and khaki, but also work later paired with a skinny chain or low-slung satin belt.

Dickies navy twill skirt is dressed up with a lace-up detail that looks sassy with this season's favorite crisp white peter-pan collar blouse. The line also includes a long cargo skirt, basic walking shorts, polo tops and flat-front pants.

Design-wise, Dickies juniors are an apparel trifecta. They're hip enough for kids; they have value and durability for parents; and they meet most public school uniform guidelines," says Jon Ragsdale, Vice President of Marketing & Merchandising for Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co.

For high school boys, Dickies makes the grade with a wide variety of pants, shirts and jackets that they're already wearing to work and other activities. The only modification is that most schools require logo-free garments, so the classic Dickies logo is on the inside instead.

Public school uniform programs hit the city scene a decade ago, when the Long Beach Unified School District in California became the first urban district in the nation to adopt a mandatory school uniform program in 1994. Nearly all public school uniform programs for every grade level consist of basic solid color pants, skirts, "skorts" or walking shorts paired with a white or other solid colored, collared top.

Today, public school uniform policies are in hundreds of major metropolitan areas including New York, Philadelphia , Miami , Los Angeles , Chicago , Washington , D.C., Houston , Dallas , New Orleans , Memphis and Cleveland .

For more information, visit www.dickies.com

INVISTA Launches Catalog for Fibers and Fabrics

San Francisco and Wilmington, DE, July 19 (PRNewswire) -- Freeborders and INVISTA today launched FAST(TM), a global online catalog of fibers and fabrics -- at http://www.FASTextile.com -- that will immediately link 500 mills in 50 countries with over 1,600 brand and retail buyers. The new service, which is open to all textile producers and fiber types, will allow mills to increase their sales by quickly, easily and inexpensively providing online fabric catalogs directly to brand and retail decision-makers. Brands and retailers will be able to search, sample, and cost new fabrics as well as communicate with mills 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to cut lead times and speed innovation.

FAST will incorporate INVISTA’s existing On-Line Fabric Library, a current standard, as well fiber and fabric products from other suppliers. "The INVISTA On-Line Fabric Library was a highly successful concept that grew to include over 27,000 mill products and was used regularly by buyers from many of the world's foremost brands and retailers," said Jon Penrice, INVISTA vice president of marketing, global apparel. "We knew this service would ultimately be of even greater value to retailers and brands if it included fabrics of all types. We're confident about the appeal of our products and brands and believe that a one-stop open resource like FAST can be a powerful driver of the innovation the industry needs to revitalize its consumer connections. When that happens, we all win."

Registered buyers can access innovative fabrics and request swatches from the FAST online catalog around-the-clock, shaving four to five weeks off lead times and speeding new products to market. They can easily access all mill databases with one search by fabric type, construction, geography, and other parameters and then communicate directly with the mills, at no cost.

Registered sellers can display catalogs of fabrics online to thousands of brands and retailer decision-makers, resulting in increased sales and deeper customer relationships. Mills will be able to speed marketing of innovative designs and fibers via secure proprietary areas within the FAST solution and thereby accelerate their ability to meet retailers' purchasing needs. These private channels allow textile producers the capability to choose the brands and retailers that can view and sample their fabrics. "The work we've done with INVISTA for the past three years has established beyond doubt the value of a single industry standard," said Mike Keating, Freeborders partner. "Besides increasing buyers' reach, the FAST web catalog offers significant product life cycle cost savings and can cut fabric research and sampling lead times by as much as a month or more.”

INVISTA is an integrated fiber and intermediates business with a global presence in more than 40 countries. Today, it is comprised of six businesses: Apparel; Performance Fibers; Interiors; Intermediates; Polymer and Resins; and Textile Fibers. INVISTA is committed to its customers' growth through market insights and technology innovations combined with a powerful portfolio of the recognized global brands and trademarks in the fibers, apparel, and interiors industries including: LYCRA®, STAINMASTER®, ANTRON®, COOLMAX®, THERMOLITE®, CORDURA®, SUPPLEX®, TACTEL®, and in the specialty chemicals business: CORFREE®, DYTEK®, ADI-Pure® and TERATHANE®. Brands formerly marketed through the KoSa line include: Polarguard®, ESP® and Avora®FR.

For more information, visit www.invista.com

Superior Uniform Group Reports Second Quarter Results

Seminole, FL., July 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Superior Uniform Group, Inc.), manufacturer of uniforms, career apparel and accessories, today announced that for the second quarter ended June 30, 2004, sales were $34,470,407 compared with 2003 second quarter sales of $34,187,586. Net income was $1,277,333 or $0.17 per share (diluted), compared with net income of $1,283,065 or $0.18 per share (diluted) in the 2003 second quarter.

For the six months ended June 30, 2004 , sales were $67,445,795, compared with sales of $65,142,533 in the six months ended June 30, 2003 . Net income for the six months ended June 30, 2004 was $2,407,801 or $0.32 per share (diluted) versus a net income of $1,909,251 or $0.26 per share (diluted) in the first six months of 2003.

Michael Benstock, Chief Executive Officer, commented: "The slight increase in revenues for the second quarter resulted from the first quarter acquisition of UniVogue and increasing revenues from several new national account contracts signed near the end of 2003 offset by continued soft demand from our existing customers. Our earnings remained essentially flat in comparison to the prior year quarter due to several factors. We have continued to invest in our sales and marketing management team as we continue the transition from a manufacturing-focused organization to a sales and marketing-driven organization. We believe that these investments will enhance our ability to grow sales and earnings in the future. Additionally, we incurred approximately $190,000, in pre-tax costs relative to the upgrade of SAP, our Enterprise Resource Planning system, which was completed successfully in the second quarter and $110,000 in outside consulting to help us prepare for compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which is ongoing."

Superior Uniform Group, through its marketing divisions -- Fashion Seal Uniforms®, Martin's® Empire®, Fashion Seal Hospitality, Worklon®, Universal®, Sope Creek® and UniVogue -- manufactures and sells a wide range of uniforms, corporate I.D., career apparel and accessories for the hospital and healthcare fields; hotels; fast food and other restaurants; and public safety, industrial, transportation and commercial markets, as well as corporate and resort embroidered sportswear.

For more information, visit www.superioruniformgroupcom

Air Force Testing of Tiger-striped Uniform Nears Completion

Robins Air Force Base, July 22, (Macon Telegraph) – Air Force testing of a blue, gray and green tiger-striped uniform is scheduled for completion this month, and a decision to break ranks with the Army could come by the end of the year.

The Air Force’s current utility or battle dress uniform is supplied through the Army, and officials have said the change is being considered for "distinctiveness" and greater utility and serviceability.

For the past several months, wear testers at nine Air Force locations, including Robins Air Force Base, have put the new uniform through its paces.

The test uniform differs significantly from the current Army-sourced option:

• The fabric incorporates distinctive blue stripes along with the Air Force logo.

• The material comes in one weight and can be worn year-round.

• The shirt may hang over the trousers or be tucked in.

• Pockets on the lower part of the shirt have been removed to ease the tucking process.

• A wider belt is being tested along with optional suede boots.

• Trouser cargo pockets are less bulky than those on the current uniform.

• The test uniforms come in cuts for both men and women.

• Major command patches are not included on the shirt.

• An 8-point stitched, Marine-style hat is also being tested.

Reactions have been varied. "Some have said, 'It's great. When do I get one?,'" said Chief Master Sgt. Cheryl Adams, the command chief master sergeant for Air Force Reserve Command at Robins. "People love the fabric and the fact that it's wash and wear and doesn't wrinkle."

Technical Sgt. Carla Williams particularly likes that the Air Force is asking for feedback before a final decision is made. "That means a lot," she said. In addition to the wear test, airmen can register their opinions on the Air Force Web site.

"Initially, I didn't care for the color," said Williams, who is temporarily serving on the Air Force Reserve Command's crisis action team at Robins. Her permanent station is Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.

"I was partial to the old BDUs because I started in the Army," she said. "But the color grows on you. This isn't Paris . We're not trying for the front cover of Vogue magazine. I think the uniform will be more functional."

Senior Master Sgt. Gary Drapeau believes color is a major issue. "People seem to have a problem at first, but most of them get used to it," he said. The Bowie, Md., native has seen several uniform changes since he entered the Air Force in 1986. "But I've never seen so much thought go into it," said Drapeau, the executive assistant to Adams. "There's been a lot of discussion and surveying, and that's a good thing."

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper is expected to reach a decision by the end of the year. If approved, the new uniforms should be in base clothing sales stores within 18-24 months. They would become mandatory in about five years.

Some critics have said the camouflage pattern and color are not appropriate, particularly for troops serving in desert locations. "Of course, only a small percentage of Air Force people actually deploy to areas that are in force protection conditions," said Adams . "There will still be a desert-type uniform. The Air Force will make sure that our people who are in force protection conditions are wearing proper uniform, color and configuration."

For more information, visit www.macon.com


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