Sara Lee Corp. reported a 1.8% increase in second quarter fiscal 2011 adjusted net sales from continuing operations, driven by gains in the company's two strategic growth businesses, North American Retail and International Beverage. On a reported basis net sales were essentially flat (-0.4%), due to the impact of a weaker euro.

The company reported lower operating income and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations for the second quarter of fiscal 2011, primarily due to higher commodity costs net of pricing. Second quarter results compare to a very strong year-ago period, when decreasing commodity costs provided a benefit to the company. Sara Lee's North American Fresh Bakery segment is now reported as a discontinued operation, following the agreement to sell the business to Grupo Bimbo.

On January 28, 2011, Sara Lee announced that its board of directors agreed in principle to divide the company into two separate, publicly traded companies. The separation is expected to be completed in early calendar year 2012. The North American Retail and North American Foodservice businesses (excluding the North American beverage business) are planned to be spun off, tax-free, into a new public company that will assume the "Sara Lee" name. The yet to be named other company will consist of Sara Lee's current International Beverage and Bakery businesses, as well as the North American beverage business. Each company will have leading consumer brands and compelling growth prospects.

"We are excited to move forward with the implementation of our strategic initiative to create two pure-play companies. We are confident that this plan offers the best opportunity to deliver long-term value to our shareholders," said Sara Lee Corp. chief executive officer Marcel Smits.

"At $0.24, our second quarter adjusted EPS from continuing operations showed good improvement from the $0.14 earned in the first quarter. As we focus on driving operational improvement in our two growth businesses, we are well positioned to finish the year with a strong second half. The North American Retail segment will benefit from first half pricing actions and MAP investments. In the International Beverage business, we continue to push through pricing to offset commodity increases and we expect further benefits from successful innovation. We are confident in our ability to drive top-line and bottom-line growth for the fiscal year," Smits concluded.

Source: Sara Lee Corp.

Hooters launches “Burger Mondays” menu

Hooters’ introduced its new "Burger Mondays" menu, consisting of five specialty burger options, coupled with fries, starting at $5.99. The Burger Mondays menu will be offered in Hooters locations around the country all day, every Monday.

The new menu includes the following half-pound burgers served with fries: More than a Mouthful Cheeseburger, served with choice of cheese; $6.99 Bleu Cheese Burger, topped with Bleu cheese crumbles; $6.99 Nacho Ordinary Burger, topped with chili, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream; $6.99 Western Burger, topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and crispy onion tanglers; $9.99 Double "D" Burger, two half-pound burgers served with choice of cheese; and a Mushroom Swiss Burger, topped with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese offered at $6.99.

Burger Mondays will replace the More Than a Mouthful Monday's promotion that ran in 2010. The new program offers customers a larger variety of burger items at a value and amps up an already successful program.

Source: Hooters of America LLC

Nash County amends rezoning rules for slaughter facilities

The Nash County Board of Commissioners approved several changes to rezoning rules, including adding the word “slaughtering” as a permitted use in general industrial zones. Residents opposed to the amended rezoning rules say it clears the way for a proposed chicken processing plant in Southern Nash County, reports theRocky Mount Telegram.

Residents and officials from the Twin Counties and Wilson County also were on hand to show support for commissioners and their ongoing efforts to recruit Sanderson Farms.

The ordinance was reviewed because opponents of a proposed Sanderson Farms facility filed a lawsuit, arguing that the county didn’t follow proper procedures in rezoning the land under consideration for the new plant. They would have required Sanderson Farms to apply for a special-use permit.

Nash County homeowner Bert Daniels said he believes a special-use permit would allow the county to impose some authority over Sanderson Farms.

“We have the chance to be a premier community east of Raleigh. ... Do not give up governance,” Daniels said.

Source: Rocky Mount Telegram

Smithfield packaging plant evacuated due to ammonia leak

About 100 employees were evacuated from the Smithfield Packaging Co. in Cheverly early Tuesday morning because of an ammonia leak, fire officials said.

The refrigeration system in the food packaging company started leaking about 12:15 a.m., releasing an irritant into the air. The Washington Post reports that it took fire officials about four hours to get the leak under control, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department.

Smithfield Packaging packages fresh pork, smoked meats, bacon, cooked hams and hot dogs for retail, according to a company Web site.

Source: Washington Post