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Sara Lee Profit Plunges 40% on Pricey Pork, Poultry

Food maker Sara Lee said Wednesday its fiscal first-quarter profit dropped 40 percent due to higher commodity costs and an increase in marketing and advertising spending.

For the quarter ending Sept. 29, net income fell to $200 million, or 28 cents per share, from $333 million, or 44 cents per share in the prior year quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings per share of 27 cents.

Sara Lee said its profit was hurt by "a very challenging input cost environment" as prices rose for commodities such as wheat, poultry, pork and green coffee.

Higher marketing and advertising spending also impacted profit, the company said.

Discontinued operations also added 10 cents per share to the year-ago quarter's results.

Revenue at the company -- which is in the midst of a restructuring meant to boost sales -- rose 8 percent to $3.13 billion, from $2.89 billion in the first quarter of 2007. Analysts predicted revenue of $3.12 billion.

Sales in the company's international beverage division jumped 25 percent. Household and body care sales, meanwhile, rose 12 percent in the quarter.

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