Consumer goods giant Sara Lee Corporation said on Wednesday its exposure for receivables due from retail chain Kmart's bankruptcy is "immaterial".

Kmart owed Sara Lee - its fifth largest customer in 2001 - around $40 million when it filed for bankruptcy last month but Sara Lee said today it entered into financial contracts prior to Kmart's bankruptcy, leaving it with no material receivables exposure.

"While Kmart is a large, important and valued customer for Sara Lee Corporation, I want to assure our investors that Sara Lee's receivables exposure with Kmart will not affect our third quarter results," said C Steven McMillan, chairman, president and CEO of Sara Lee Corporation.

"As Kmart's financial issues became increasingly apparent over the last several months, Sara Lee implemented a number of procedures such as carefully monitoring shipments and using various financial mechanisms to lessen any impact from the Kmart bankruptcy."

He continued: "We are confident that Kmart's bankruptcy will place them in a more competitive position within the retail industry over the longer term. We look forward to working with Kmart as they emerge as a stronger retailer, which, in turn, means Kmart also will be a stronger customer."

"In terms of the impact from store closures, we believe that for the basic products we sell - such as underwear, socks and bras - if consumers no longer have a local Kmart in which to shop, they will still be able find what they are looking for at one of our other major customers."