Despite being negatively impacted by the decline in employment levels, corporate apparel and uniform supplier Cintas Corporation has continued to add new customers and grow market share - increasing its total revenue for the fiscal second quarter ended 30 November 2001 by 3 per cent to $557 million from $539 million a year ago.

Net income of $58 million for the second quarter also increased 3 per cent from $56.5 million reported in last year's second quarter. Earnings per share advanced to 34 cents per share (diluted) from 33 cents.

On the garment rental side, Robert J. Kohlhepp, chief executive officer, noted: "The rental of uniforms and other products and services continues to grow as we realise the efforts of an expanded sales force and aggressive marketing effort. Even in this difficult economic environment, our rental division has written more new business and added more new customers than ever before. When the economy begins to improve, we will be well-positioned to capture that growth and further increase our market share.''

Cintas' rental revenue was up 8 per cent from last year's second quarter. Other services revenue, which includes the sale of uniforms as well as the sale of other products and services, declined 11 per cent from a year ago.

Mr Kohlhepp explained: "Since the tragic events of September 11th, our uniform sales customers which include hotels, airlines, auto rental and entertainment businesses have delayed their uniform purchases because of weakness in their business.

"Although we are disappointed in the sale-side of our uniform business, we believe the demand for new uniforms will increase as the economy gains strength. We also experienced healthy sales growth last year and we are up against tough comparisons to last year's results.''

In total, Cintas' revenue increased 3 per cent compared to the second quarter of last fiscal year.