Central Garden & Pet Company (NASDAQ:CENT) (NASDAQ:CENTA), a leading innovator, marketer and producer of quality branded products for the lawn and garden and pet supplies markets, today reported financial results for its second quarter ended March 26, 2011. The Company reported second quarter net sales of $485.7 million, an increase of 10 percent over the same period a year ago. Strong net sales growth in its Garden Products segment contributed significantly to the overall increase. The Company reported operating income of $59.6 million, compared to operating income of $60.5 million in the comparable 2010 period, impacted by rising raw material input costs and the Company’s continued strategic investments in marketing and brand building activities. Net interest expense was $9.3 million compared to $9.8 million in the year-ago period. Net income for the quarter totaled $31.8 million, or $0.54 per fully diluted share, compared with net income of $31.6 million, or $0.49 per fully diluted share, in the second quarter of 2010, on fewer shares outstanding. “Our revenues have continued to grow,” said Bill Brown, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are especially pleased with the strong growth demonstrated by our Garden business this quarter, led by our premium grass seed and our garden chemical and control products. Although our revenues grew again this quarter, our earnings were impacted by the continued rise in input costs and by our strategic investment in brand building, which enhances consumer awareness of the quality and benefits of our products.” Brown added, “Innovation continues to be a key focus for our organization. As we plan our future, we are confident that the strength of our product portfolio, financial discipline and the dedication of our talented team strongly position us for continued, profitable long-term growth.” Branded product sales increased $49.4 million, or 13 percent, to $417.3 million in the second quarter of 2011. Sales of other manufacturers’ products were $68.4 million, a decrease of $5.6 million compared to the year ago period. The Garden Products segment’s branded product sales increased $46.2 million or 25 percent to $231.3 million, and sales of other manufacturers’ products were $29.0 million, a decrease of $5.5 million compared to the second quarter of 2010. The Pet Products segment’s branded product sales were $186.0 million, an increase of $3.2 million, and sales of other manufacturers’ products were $39.4 million, relatively flat compared to the second quarter of 2010.