US food and consumer goods company Sara Lee has reported a sharp rise in quarterly earnings, helped by increased sales of meat and household products.

Sara Lee posted profit of US$348m, or 42 cents a share, for the second quarter to 29 December, compared to $160m, or 20 cents a share a year earlier.

In late October, Sara Lee forecast second-quarter earnings per share of between 40 and 42 cents before special items, while analysts polled by Thompson First Call were expecting profit of 41 cents to 43 cents a share before special items.

The company’s revenue rose 2% to $4.8bn, reported Reuters.