US packaged bakery foods company Flowers Foods has said it expects full-year 2004 sales to exceed prior guidance but warned that its earnings from continuing operations would be lower than expected.

The company said that due to a more than 20% increase in its stock price over the final two months of its fiscal year, it will record higher-than-expected compensation expense associated with its stock appreciation rights plan for full-year 2004. The company said it also experienced higher-than-planned compliance and commodity costs.

Full-year 2004 sales are now expected to be around US$1.55bn. Income from continuing operations is expected to be $1.21 to $1.24 per share, compared to prior guidance of $1.30 to $1.34 per share. The company reaffirmed its full-year 2005 guidance of $1.60bn to $1.63bn in sales and net income of approximately 3.75% to 4.0% of sales.

“Our operating fundamentals remain sound, as indicated by our sales performance,” said George Deese, president and chief executive officer. “In the marketplace, our brands and our people continue to perform well.”

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