NEW YORK — Continuing to sharpen its focus on its core apparel brands, Sara Lee Corp. has sold its Italian hosiery business to Gilfin SpA, the parent company of Golden Lady SpA.

The sale of Filodoro Calze SpA includes its Spanish and Portuguese hosiery operations. While financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed, Sara Lee said the divestiture isn’t expected to have a material impact on its second-quarter results, which are scheduled to be released Jan. 22.

Filodoro Calze, which had sales of about $83 million in 2003, is based in Casalmoro, Italy. Gilfin’s headquarters are in Castiglione Stiviere, Italy.

Sara Lee chief executive Steven McMillan said in a statement that the sale “will allow us to focus our resources on areas that have the greatest potential for long-term growth.”

Filodoro markets sheer hosiery products under the Filodoro, Filodoro Club, Filodoro Classic, Philippe Matignon and Filoverde brands and its products are primarily sold in Italy, Spain and France. Sara Lee’s apparel brand portfolio includes Hanes, Hanes Her Way, Playtex and Champion.

Sara Lee noted that European sheer hosiery purchasing has declined during the past few years due to the trend toward casual dressing. Warm weather in Europe cut further into sales during Sara Lee’s fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 27, when unit volume in the global sheer hosiery segment dropped 17 percent, even as global sock units rose 5 percent.

In the quarter, Sara Lee’s Intimates and Underwear business saw its sales erode 5.3 percent to $1.6 billion as its operating income receded 40.6 percent to $127 million.

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