Sara Lee Corporation yesterday provided preliminary financial guidance for fiscal 2002, which begins July 1, 2001, at an analyst meeting in New York. The company expects diluted earnings per share (EPS) from total operations for fiscal 2002 to be $1.25 to $1.35, modestly down relative to projections for the current fiscal year that will end June 30, 2001. In its third quarter press release, dated April 25, 2001, the company provided EPS guidance of $1.34 to $1.37 for fiscal 2001.
Senior management cited a number of factors that will contribute to the company’s results for the next fiscal year, including challenging retail market conditions, a strong dollar relative to the euro, and substantial technology and reorganization investments. These investments are critical to support Sara Lee’s portfolio reshaping and management reorganization plans, and they are expected to produce measurable savings beginning in fiscal 2003. The company also noted that marketing expenditures to build its global brand positions are expected to increase more than 5% in fiscal 2002.
“While the near-term operating environment for several of our key businesses remains difficult, we have a number of significant investment opportunities for innovative product introductions, cost-saving consolidation projects and technology investments scheduled for the upcoming fiscal year,” said C. Steven McMillan, president and chief executive officer of Sara Lee Corporation. “We will not defer or delay crucial projects – projects that will contribute significantly to the longer-term financial strength and growth prospects for this company – in order to minimize the impact on next year’s earnings. Sara Lee must improve its top-line performance, and the best way to do that is by investing in product development and marketing efforts that are funded, at least in part, by savings that will come from lower administrative costs and a more centralized organizational structure.”
The company preliminarily projected operating profit increases for Food And Beverage; flat results for Household Products; and lower operating profits for Intimates and Underwear. These results reflect an expected negative impact from the strength of the dollar and significant technology and reorganization investments.
This news release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning Sara Lee’s expected fiscal 2002 operations, economic performance and financial condition. These forward-looking statements are based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data and management’s views and assumptions regarding future events. Such forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, and investors must recognize that actual results may differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause Sara Lee’s actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements include the following: (i) impacts on reported earnings from fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates – particularly the euro – given Sara Lee’s significant concentration of business in Western Europe; (ii) significant competitive activity, including advertising, promotional and price competition, and changes in consumer demand for Sara Lee’s products; (iii) inherent risks in the marketplace associated with new product introductions, including uncertainties about trade and consumer acceptance; (iv) Sara Lee’s ability to successfully integrate acquisitions into its existing operations and the availability of new acquisitions, joint ventures and alliance opportunities that build stockholder value; (v) the financial impact of Sara Lee’s decision to dispose of certain non-core business units; (vi) fluctuations in the costs and availability of various raw materials; (vii) the effect on future revenues and expenses in Sara Lee’s Packaged Meats business resulting from the foot and mouth viral disease recently discovered in parts of Europe; (viii) Sara Lee’s ability to complete the transactions anticipated in its business reshaping program; (ix) the corporation’s ability to realize forecasted savings, as well as improvements in productivity and efficiency, from its business reshaping, restructuring and other programs. In addition, Sara Lee’s results may also be affected by general factors, such as economic conditions, political developments, interest and inflation rates, accounting standards, taxes and laws and regulations that affect the corporation in markets where it competes.
Consequently, the corporation wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. We have provided additional information in our Form 10-K for fiscal year 2000, which readers are encouraged to review, concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward looking statements. Sara Lee undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Sara Lee Corporation (www.saralee.com) is a global branded consumer packaged goods company with approximately $17.5 billion in annual revenues. Its leading brands include Sara Lee, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Kiwi, Hanes and Playtex.