US baker Flowers Foods said its sales are up year-to-date and that the company is “well-positioned” for accelerated growth in 2013.

Speaking at the Flowers Foods Analyst Day at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday (20 March), the company said it sales are up 20-25% year-to-date and that its earnings outlook is “strong”. Flowers attributed its growth to a long-term commitment of investing in bakeries, “constantly improving efficiencies” and “building strong brands”.

CEO George Deese said: “Recent acquisitions like Lepage Bakeries in the Northeast and the Sara Lee brand of fresh bread, buns, and rolls in California have helped us extend our geographic reach. We have strong brands, great products, and a seasoned team-all factors that give me confidence in Flowers’ ability to meet or exceed our goals.”

Flowers Foods earlier this month won through in its bid to acquire the majority of Hostess Brands’ bread units, including Wonder, Nature’s Pride and Merita.

Of the deal, Deese said the Hostess assets will “fit well” with its own long-term strategy.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the bankruptcy court review in which the court approved the sale this week, subject to the finalizing of the sales order, which we expect to occur shortly. We anticipate completing the transaction in the second half of the year. Because the transaction is not finalised and for competitive reasons, we will not share any specific plans regarding the pending acquisition.”

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Flowers secured the brands in a deal worth US$360m, which will include 28 bakeries and around 28 depots.

On the group’s outlook, CFO Steve Kinsey said Flowers was “very optimistic” about fiscal 2013.

“We are seeing strong sales and earnings trends, and we expect to deliver a strong first quarter.”