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Hillshire Brands Posts Strong Results To Start Fiscal Year 2013

Retail

Net sales in the Retail segment increased 3.0% in the quarter, driven by 2.3% volume growth. Adjusted operating segment income increased by 45.5%, primarily due to lower input costs and lower SG&A costs, reflecting the benefit of the company’s cost reduction programs.

Jimmy Dean turned in a strong performance during the quarter, with double-digit sales growth. Ball Park also posted solid top line growth during the key summer hot dog season and the brand’s new Flame Grilled Patties continued to perform well. Aidells continued to deliver strong double-digit growth and launched several new products, including hot dogs and all-natural salame. Each of these brands received strong MAP support, reflecting the company’s commitment to brand building for the long-term.

Foodservice/Other

In the first quarter, Foodservice/Other adjusted net sales declined 1.6%. While volumes increased, revenues declined on a less profitable sales mix and lower pricing tied to declining input costs. Adjusted operating segment income increased $3 million, as a result of positive price recovery and lower SG&A expenses.

Foodservice Bakery struggled as industry trends for dessert consumption continued to decline and as the business was impacted by the lingering negative effects following the plant upgrades in the Tarboro, N.C. facility.

Australian Bakery

The Australian Bakery segment reported a 2.3% decline in sales in the quarter. The sales decline was expected, driven by the closing of a number of outlet stores and the exiting of unprofitable private label businesses. Excluding negative currency impacts, sales were down 1.1%. Adjusted operating segment income increased by $2 million on lower costs.

Corporate

The company’s corporate expenses, excluding significant items, declined $14 million versus the first quarter of fiscal 2012, to $8 million. This reduction was driven primarily by an $8 million year-over-year increase in commodity mark-to-market gains, as well as cost savings initiatives, including headcount reductions.

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