Flowers Foods has posted sales of US$445.8m for the second quarter, 10% up on the same period last year, on the back of double-digit growth in its Nature’s Own bread brand.

Net income at the bakery was $19.7m for the quarter, an increase of 11.7% over the $17.7m reported for the corresponding period of 2005.

Sales for the first half of the year were $1.009bn, representing a 10.8% increase over the $911.3m reported for the comparable period last year. Net income for the half-year period increased by 13.2% to reach $42.6m, against $37.7m in 2005.

Flowers Foods chairman, CEO and president George Deese said: “Flowers Foods’ performance was solid this quarter, reflecting the strength of our bakeries, brands, and our team. Sales of Nature’s Own Whitewheat breads increased by double digits as did sales of core Nature’s Own breads, contributing to the good results reported for the Bakeries Group.

“Our direct-store-delivery (DSD) territory expansion continued as we entered new markets in Ohio. Both fresh and frozen foodservice sales experienced solid growth. Results for the Specialty Group again were impacted by challenges arising from the shift from contract production to branded retail snack cakes.”

During the second quarter, the company acquired 327,400 shares of its common stock for $9.1m, an average of $27.90 per share.

The Thomasville-based bakery firm has slightly narrowed its earnings guidance for fiscal 2006 and now anticipates sales growth of 9.6% to 10.4%, or $1.880bn to $1.895bn.