I can't really think of Sara Lee
Sara Lee's fiscal first-quarter profit dropped 40% to $200 million, or $0.28 per share. Although the company said operating income increased 15.5% to $294 million, once you exclude items like foreign currency and exchange rates and other items, it decreased by 1.5%. The company cited high input costs for commodities like wheat, poultry, pork, and green coffee, as well as expenses related to packaging, energy, and labor.
Revenue increased 8.3% to $3.1 billion. It's obviously a challenge to improve profits in such a costly and competitive environment, and Sara Lee also said it's investing heavily in marketing for brands like Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, its namesake Sara Lee brand, Senseo, Ambi Pur, and Sanex, with media advertising and promotion costs up 21%.
You may recall that Sara Lee is quite a massive conglomerate. Although it has an emphasis on food -- it competes with Heinz
If investors don't seem too impressed by its performance, a quick glance at the rest of the market implies that investors aren't really impressed by much today. And while it's awfully nice that Sara Lee improved its guidance (it expects earnings of $1.00 to $1.06 per share in 2008, versus previous guidance for $0.95 to $1.01 per share), whether now is the time to buy seems a whole different matter. For example, a quick glance at its PEG ratio of 2.77 doesn't make Sara Lee sound like a particularly compelling investing idea at the moment.
High commodities costs are impacting a lot of companies these days, but given the specter of possibilities like lower consumer spending, it's understandable that investors might want to take a wait-and-see attitude for Sara Lee -- perhaps they can get this dividend-paying stock at a lower price.
Pass on the pound cake and take a slice of related Foolishness instead: