Sara Lee tops estimates despite sales headwinds

Posted by James Ferre on 8th May 2009

Sara Lee has reported a fall in third quarter sales as their foodservice and international business segments hinder growth.

Third quarter adjusted profit increased 30.1%, however, primarily driven by strong performance in the North American retail and international beverage segments, as well as higher margins.

“We continue to achieve meaningful bottom-line growth and see positive trends in the face of a very difficult global economy,” said Brenda Barnes, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sara Lee Corp. “During the quarter, we made numerous critical investments for long-term growth in the international beverage segment, which has
achieved strong quarterly results and is expected to report another solid year.”

The maker of the Moccona and Sara Lee brands has been undertaking a transformation aimed at reducing costs and divesting less profitable businesses in recent years, with a sale of their household and personal care unit on the cards as they focus more heavily on their food divisions.

“The changes we have implemented to drive efficiencies and reduce costs, combined with our long-term commitment to innovation, marketing and talent management are beginning to benefit our bottom-line results, despite ongoing macro-economic challenges,” Ms Barnes advised. “Given the performance improvement initiatives we continue to implement through Project Accelerate, we believe that we are well positioned to benefit even further when the global economy begins to recover.”