Sara Lee Corporation's board of directors yesterday approved a 3.4% increase to the corporation's common dividend rate. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer C. Steven McMillan announced the dividend increase, which represents Sara Lee's 26th consecutive year of common dividend rate increases, at the company's 61st annual meeting of stockholders.

The board of directors approved an increase in the annual dividend from $.58 to $.60 per share. Also today, the board of directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $.15 per share on the company's common stock, payable on January 2, 2002. The dividend is payable to stockholders of record at the close of business on December 3, 2001. This is the 223rd consecutive dividend declared by the corporation.

Sara Lee Corporation is a global branded consumer packaged goods company with approximately $20 billion in annual revenues. Its leading brands include Sara Lee, Douwe Egberts, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Kiwi, Hanes and Playtex.