SARA LEE SPINS OUT NEW HOSE

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A run-resistant pantyhose is just one of the new products Sara Lee Corp. is serving up this year as it seeks to balance consumer value with strong brand equity support to boost earnings and sales.

This August, the Chicago-based marketer's Hanes Hosiery division will introduce Resilience pantyhose with an outdoor and print campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, New York, featuring supermodels Vendela and Yasmeen.

Themed "Sheer without fear.......Hanes Resilience ......Beautifully sheer.......Deceptively strong," the ads will break in tandem with a 25% off in-store promotional introductory event.

Donald Franceschini, exec VP of the company's personal products division, indicated total hosiery spending will rise substantially this year because of Resilience. In 1994, Sara Lee spent about $20 million on all hosiery products, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Also on Mr. Franceschini's new-products agenda: The new Playtex Eighteen Hour Comfort Stretch and Comfort Strap bras via Saatchi.

New products are also on the way for the package meats and bakery division, which has just introduced a Ball Park fat-free hot dog through Ammirati & Puris/Lintas and is continuing to roll out its Sara Lee fresh baked goods, handled by Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles.

These moves come as the company heads toward Atlanta's 1996 Summer Olympics for which Sara Lee is both a sponsor and licensee. But company executives stressed the new-products push is part of the company's continued attempt to build brands after a difficult fiscal 1994, ended July 2.

While sales rose 6.6% to $15.5 billion, net income after the restructuring and an accounting change dropped 71.8% to $199 million. Net income pre-restructuring rose 3.5% to $729 million.

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