Sara Lee Corp. chief Brenda Barnes claimed today (15 August) that the US-based company has entered a “growth phase” after completing its “turnaround” over the last 12 months.


Sara Lee, the maker of brands including Jimmy Dean sausage and EarthGrains bread, posted a 5.4% increase in underlying operating profit to US$850m for the year to 30 June.


Stripping out one-time charges linked to restructuring, Sara Lee said operating income had leapt almost 32% to $556m.


Net sales, meanwhile, rose 7.1% to $12.3m thanks to growth across the business, particularly North American retail meats, where sales rose 3.6%.


Barnes said Sara Lee had finished revamping the business. “Having completed our disposition program and our organizational restructuring, our one-time transformation activities are behind us,” she said. “We have now entered a growth phase for Sara Lee.”


Sara Lee has sold off a raft of businesses, including the Hanesbrands apparel unit.


The company’s fourth-quarter profit stood at $152m, against a quarterly loss of $54m a year earlier. Sales rose 7.8% to $3.2bn as Sara Lee, like many of its peers, rose prices to offset input costs.