Earnings Preview: Sara Lee Corp.
by The Associated Press
Posted: 2009-10-02 11:26:19 EST

Sara Lee Corp., the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages, Hillshire Farm deli meats and Sara Lee breads, recently reported earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Sara Lee's bottom line may have benefited from lower commodity prices and a focus on value-priced products.

The Downers Grove, Ill.-based company said during the most recent quarter that it shifted its focus to lower-priced items popular with cash-conscious consumers, like Ball Park franks and other inexpensive meats that produce strong results for the company.

Consumers are still eating at home more often, but some food makers have seen customers lighten up on their reliance on cheaper private-label items, which were hurting sales of so-called name brands.

Like other food makers, Sara Lee also likely was helped by lower prices on ingredients used in its products like corn and grain, which had hit highs and hurt its margins in the past year.

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