Sara Lee Posts Earnings that Beat Analysts' Projections; Raises Forecast

Sara Lee Corp., the maker of Jimmy Dean breakfast foods and Ball Park franks, reported third- quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates and raised its annual forecast after North American food sales rose.

Earnings excluding items such as divestitures were 22 cents a share in the period ended March 27, compared with the 21-cent average of 11 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The Downers Grove, Illinois-based company increased its fiscal 2010 earnings forecast to as much as $1.10, from a previous maximum of $1.07, according to a statement today.

Sales growth in the North American retail unit was driven by Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches and Hillshire Farm lunch meat, Sara Lee said.

Sara Lee rose 4 cents to $14 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange Composite trading. The stock has risen 15 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at mboyle20@bloomberg.net

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