Leading US corporate apparel services firm G&K Services Inc on Tuesday said a 19 per cent rise in second quarter earnings rose was partly due to improved plant productivity and lower energy and merchandise costs.

The Minneapolis-based firm, which makes, rents and sells uniforms for over 100,000 customers, reported net income of $9.5 million, or 46 cents a share, in the quarter ended December 29, 2001, compared with $8m, or 39 cents a share in 2000.

In a statement, G&K said second quarter revenue rose three per cent to $155.7m, from $150.8m in the year-ago period.

It added it expects the economy to remain soft during its fiscal third quarter, with a modest improvement in the fourth quarter.