US food group Sara Lee has booked an increase in full-year profits, driven by an “improved operating performance” across the company and despite a fall in sales.

For the 53 weeks to 3 July, Sara Lee earned US$506m compared to $364m in the prior year.

Operating income jumped 88.6% to $918m. The figure was driven by improved operating profits across all five business divisions, in particular, Sara Lee’s North American retail and international beverages units.

Net sales, however, slid to $10.8bn, down 0.8% on fiscal 2009. The company said favourable foreign currency exchange rates and a positive sales mix, were more than offset by lower unit volumes, lower prices and the impact of disposals.

In its fourth quarter, Sara Lee swung back into profit, earning $187m compared to a loss of $14m last year.

Operating profit amounted to $79m versus a loss of $12m in 2009. Sales edged up to $2.77bn from $2.66bn last year.

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