Sara Lee income up sharply in quarter

by Staff
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DOWNERS GROVE, ILL. — Driven by the sale of its household and body care business as well as gains in the North American Retail and International Beverage businesses, earnings for Sara Lee Corp. rose 137% during the second quarter.

For the quarter ended Jan. 1, the company had income of $880 million, equal to $1.38 per share on the common stock, up from $371 million, or 53c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $2,349 million, nearly flat compared with $2,359 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

“We are excited to move forward with the implementation of our strategic initiative to create two pure-play companies, said Marcel Smits, chief executive officer. “We are confident that this plan offers the best opportunity to deliver long-term value to our shareholders.

“At 24c, our second-quarter adjusted e.p.s. from continuing operations showed good improvement from the 14c earned in the first quarter. As we focus on driving operational improvement in our two growth businesses, we are well positioned to finish the year with a strong second half. The North American Retail segment will benefit from first-half pricing actions and MAP investments. In the International Beverage business, we continue to push through pricing to offset commodity increases, and we expect further benefits from successful innovation. We are confident in our ability to drive top-line and bottom-line growth for the fiscal year.”

For the six months ended Jan. 1, the company posted income of $1,072 million, or $1.66 per share, up 64% from $655 million during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the six months were $4,408 million, nearly flat compared with $4,406 million during the same period of the previous year.

The company also announced it is reaffirming its fiscal 2011 guidance of adjusted operating income from continuing operations of $904 million to $940 million and adjusted e.p.s. from continuing operations at 85c to 89c.

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