• Earnings up 23.5%
  • Raises FY EPS outlook
  • Sales drop on FX

US food giant Sara Lee has raised its full-year earnings guidance after posting a jump in first-quarter profits.

Sara Lee said today (5 November) that profits increased 23.5% for the quarter ended 26 September, climbing to US$284m from $230m last year.

However, sales were hit by the strength of the dollar and fell 7.4% to $2.59bn. Excluding currency exchange and disposals, sales fell 3.3%.

The maker of Ball Park Franks and Jimmy Dean sausages said that cost cutting and lower input costs had resulted in improved profitability, with the company's gross margin rising to 37.4%, from 34.9% last year.

Sara Lee raised its full-year EPS forecast by $0.06 to a range of $0.90-$0.96 per share and affirmed its sales guidance.

Check back later for just-food's in-depth look at Sara Lee's first quarter, or click here for the full press release.