Sara Lee’s Corporate Strategy before their retrenchment initiatives involved acquiring various businesses in the food processing, packaging, and distribution industries. Operating with multiple businesses in several markets would help them grow in their various markets and create competitive advantages by utilizing specific techniques and knowledge gained from their acquisitions, thus providing opportunities for greater synergies within Sara Lee’s processing, packaging, and distribution operations. However, some of their acquisitions did not fit the mold president and COO Barnes believed to be strategic for the future of the company. For this reason Sara Lee announced it would divest certain businesses not viewed as strategic and instead focus on increasing market share and profitability in strategic business units pertaining to their value chain and geographic reach. After the retrenchment initiatives, Sara Lee’s business segments narrowed to:
-North American Retail
-North American Fresh Bakery
-North American Foodservice
-International Household & Body Care (Until 2010 when this segment was also divested)
Due to the retrenchment initiatives, Sara Lee was able to focus on these business segments, eliminating the time and effort spent in building sales in small, more diverse businesses.