Third-quarter net income at US baker Flowers Foods climbed 21.8% on the back of a 21.2% rise in revenues, the company said today (6 November).

For the period ended 4 October, net income rose to US$27.4m from $22.5m in the prior year.

Quarterly sales increased 21.2% to $575.9m over the $475.2 million reported for last year's third quarter. The increase was achieved through a "favourable pricing/mix" of 10.9%, a unit volume increase of 1.2%, and two acquisitions, which contributed 9.1%, Flowers said. 

During the quarter, the company's direct-store-delivery sales grew 24.7% and sales through warehouse delivery increased 6.1%.

For the nine-month period, net income reached $87.1m, a 19.1% increase over $73.2m for the same period last year. Sales increased 14.7% to $1.79bn over from $1.56bn in 2007.

"Sales across all categories remain strong, and we are on track to continue expanding our geographic footprint, deliver profitable growth, and drive product innovation," said George Deese, chairman of the board, CEO and president. "Our performance in the quarter again demonstrates the strength of our brands and our team's ability to execute well in the marketplace."

The results and the impact of recent acquisitions have led Flowers to up its sales and earnings forecasts for 2008. The company said it now expects sales to reach $2.42-2.43bn, up from $2.4-2.425bn.

Flowers now estimates net income to reach between $113.6m and $117.3m, against the company's earlier forecast of $109.2-114.7m.