The report by analyst Prospect Shop compared 53 companies in the textile rental, laundry and drycleaning sectors. All derived at least 50% of turnover from the industry, or were significant players.

In the last three financial periods of 2001, the average sales increase for the surveyed group was 5.5% while pre-tax profits rose by 9.4% on average.

However, the study’s authors said “Only three out of the 10 top companies by sales turnover, reported a pre-tax profit margin above the report-calculated industry average of 6.3%. It is interesting to see that the top 10 companies by size have not performed quite so well as some of their smaller competitors.

The report concluded: “Whilst most of the profitability ratios and gearing levels have improved, efficiency ratios remain relatively stable. Consequently, the future looks encouraging for companies active in the textile rental, laundry and drycleaning industry.”