The slogan is a lie: Somebody clearly doesn’t like Sara Lee. And that someone just happens to be Sara Lee, herself.Sara Lee Corp. told investors today that it will change its name to Hillshire Brands Co. (ticker symbol “HSH”) in an attempt to buoy falling sales of its packaged meat products Wednesday.
The company, famous back in the day for its frozen desserts, announced plans to split its food and beverage components into two separate entities in 2011. The coffee and tea company will now be called D.E. Master Blenders 1753, named after Douwe Egberts, a coffee brand that falls under the label which was created in 1753. (Ticker symbol: “DE.”).
Last Thursday, Sara Lee Corp. told its board that the final steps of the business split had been approved. Dealbook predicted that the food business, which is primarily made up of meats like Ball Park and Jimmy Dean, would “keep the Sara Lee brand name.” But, alas.
The Wall Street Journal reports that taking the Sara Lee name off the company’s letterhead “reflects a long, steady move away from its frozen baked goods, such as pies and cheesecakes, that made Sara Lee a familiar name for grocery shoppers.” Now, most Sara Lee desserts are made by other companies, but some favourites will still be available in supermarkets.
We didn’t realise that Sara Lee was kind of over the cake-business … then again, we also hadn’t noticed that Sara Lee had changed its slogan to “the joy of eating” in a $20 to $30 million media push in 2006.
Chief Financial Officer Mary Henry told investors that, beverages not included, the company’s sales has fallen 7 per cent in four years.
Hillshire Brands marks the beginning of a new era of supporting the meat business. Five per cent of revenue will be spent on marketing (up from 3 to 4 per cent), and the company will start making new products.
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