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Sara Lee Reports Third Quarter Earnings

Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) today reported earnings for the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal 2012 and provided an update on the progress of the spin-off of D.E MASTER BLENDERS 1753.

Third Quarter Highlights (continuing operations):
  • 3% increase in adjusted 1 net sales; 2% increase in reported net sales
    • Coffee & Tea Co 2: adjusted net sales up 5%; reported net sales up 1%
    • Meat Co 2: adjusted net sales up 1%; reported net sales up 2%
  • Adjusted and reported operating income decreased 5% and 66%
    • Coffee & Tea Co: adjusted operating segment income down 9%; reported operating segment income down 21%
    • Meat Co: adjusted operating segment income down 7%; reported operating segment income down 13%
  • Adjusted EPS decreased two cents to $0.20; reported EPS decreased fourteen cents to $0.06

Guidance Update
  • Expect adjusted EPS to fall in the middle of the $0.89-$0.95 range
  • Net sales and operating income will meet objectives at the low end of their respective guidance ranges

Key Financial Data, Continuing Operations
Third Quarter   ($ millions, except per share)   First Nine Months
2012   2011   % Change   Continuing Operations   2012   2011   % Change
1,861 1,806 3.0 Adjusted Net Sales 5,805 5,536 4.9
1,899 1,860 2.0 Reported Net Sales 5,923 5,545 6.8
195 205 (4.7 ) Adjusted Operating Income 633 596 6.3
66 194 (65.9 ) Reported Operating Income 278 526 (47.2 )
$0.20 $0.22 (9.1 ) Adjusted EPS $0.65 $0.55 18.2
$0.06   $0.20   (70.0 )   Reported EPS   $0.06   $0.43   (86.0 )

1 The term “adjusted net sales” and other “adjusted” financial measures are explained and reconciled to comparable GAAP measures at the end of this release.

2 Coffee & Tea Co is Sara Lee’s business segment, which is planned to be spun-off into an independent company. Meat Co is the summation of the N.A. Retail and N.A. Foodservice & Specialty Meats segments

Perspectives from Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

"I am pleased to announce that we are on track to spin-off the Coffee & Tea business by June 30. Significant progress has been made in the last quarter with the IRS private letter ruling, an F-1 prospectus filing for Coffee, the successful bond redemption and tender offers and the investor day for Coffee Co (D.E MASTER BLENDERS 1753),” said Executive Chairman Jan Bennink. "Both companies are in full preparation to become highly successful pure play companies. Sean Connolly, the new CEO for Meats, is finalizing his strategy and his new management structure, which will be presented to investors shortly. Michiel Herkemij, appointed as CEO for Master Blenders in December, has presented his strategy to investors and has added a supply chain executive and a regional head for Western Europe to his executive team. The Boards for the new companies will be announced in May."

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