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Sara Lee To Spin Off Branded Apparel

Chicago-based Sara Lee Corp. has announced it will spin off its Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Branded Apparel, Americas/Asia, business into a publicly traded, independent company. The move is part of a comprehensive transformation plan intended to improve Sara Lee's performance and long-term growth prospects, and focus its portfolio on its core food, beverage and household products.

The announcement follows news that Sara Lee is exploring the sale of its $1.8 billion European apparel business.

Sara Lee Branded Apparel, a business that includes the Champion®, Hanes® and Playtex® brands, registered an 11.6-percent increase in operating segment income for the first half of fiscal 2005, according to C. Steven McMillan, chairman and CEO, Sara Lee Corp. The business employs more than 50,000 people globally including 14,500 in the United States. The spin-off is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months.

"With approximately $4.5 billion in annual sales, we would become a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest apparel companies in the world," said Lee A. Chaden, CEO, Sara Lee Branded Apparel. "The management of Branded Apparel is very excited about this move," Chaden said. "Our business today is very healthy. And, given our scale, the strength of our brands and the quality of our people, we are fully confident that we can accelerate our growth curve as an independent enterprise.

"We will remain in Winston-Salem, which has been our home since two Hanes brothers created companies 104 years ago," he added.

Richard A. Noll, currently CEO of Sara Lee Bakery Group, has been named president and COO of Sara Lee Branded Apparel.

March 1, 2005