US food and consumer goods company Sara Lee has said its bakery unit has agreed to sell the assets of its Houston bread bakery to Flowers Foods and plans to close its San Antonio bread bakery.
Sara Lee Bakery Group said it is moving to a branded-only business model for fresh bread in the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio areas of Texas. The company will concentrate on baking and delivering higher-margin Sara Lee, Earth Grains, IronKids, Rainbo, Grant’s Farm and other branded fresh breads, buns, rolls and bagels to grocery and retail customers.
The company said the move will end most private-label and restaurant production in these areas, but it will continue to serve its non-branded fresh bread customers in Texas outside of the Dallas, Houston and San Antonio areas.
Sara Lee said it will cease production at its Houston bread and bun bakery by 18 September 2004, and at its San Antonio bread and bun bakery by 31 December 2004. Production of branded bread and buns from the Houston and San Antonio bakeries will be transferred to Sara Lee Bakery Group’s Dallas bakery, which already bakes the same products.
The company said it has reached a definitive agreement to sell the assets of its Houston bread and bun bakery to Flowers Foods after production has ceased. Terms of the asset sale are not being released.
The moves will eliminate 306 Sara Lee jobs in Texas – 187 at the Houston bakery and 119 at the San Antonio bakery. The company said it sale of the Houston assets will partially offset the costs of restructuring the company’s operations.
Sara Lee Bakery Group added that has no plans to move to a branded-only business model for fresh bread anywhere except the designated parts of Texas.