Sara Lee reports profit growth, bullish about 2010

Posted by James Ferre on 5th February 2010

Food manufacturer Sara Lee has again reported lower volumes in the second quarter, though favourable currency movements helped ensure sales remained flat. Profits rose, as the US-based firm cut costs, while the frozen food and bakery goods maker was confident that volume trends were now beginning to turn in their favour.

“We’re pleased to report a strong second quarter, which was even better than our first quarter, and was highlighted by significant profit growth,” Sara Lee Corp. Chairman and CEO Brenda Barnes said. “On an adjusted basis, every segment of our continuing business, along with Household and Body Care, delivered income growth in the quarter.

“During this period we recalibrated pricing, which helped us deliver improved volume trends.”

Australia

The International Bakery segment again faced headwinds but there are promising signs in the Australian market.

“With new product launches, pricing actions and Project Accelerate benefits in Spain, combined with ongoing strong performance in France and Australia, the segment expects to show positive trends in the upcoming quarters and for the full fiscal year,” Sara Lee advised in a statement. “Successful new products launched in the second quarter included Ortiz wheat bread in Spain and various new Sara Lee branded foodservice bakery products in Australia.”

Guidance raised as 2010 looks promising

“Based on the strong first half performance, we have raised guidance and feel very confident in our full year outlook,” Barnes said. “We also are making significant investments across our business designed to drive growth this year and beyond. We believe that we will have a strong 2010 and are confident that in 2011 we can deliver meaningful additional profit improvement.”