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Dallas-Based Dean Foods Isn't Making the Cheddar Like It Expected

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Dallas-based Dean Foods, which stocks the dairy case with Land O Lakes and Oak Farms products, said today it's not going to milk as much out of consumers as it previously expected -- something to do with "rapidly increasing and record high dairy commodity costs." And it's bad news all around, especially for folks who work for the McKinney Ave.-HQ'd company: Chairman and CEO Gregg Engles said today Dean Foods expects to lay off between 600 and 700 workers -- or, about 2-3 percent of its entire workforce. Says the company: "Implementation will begin immediately with a voluntary reduction program followed by an involuntary reduction, if necessary."

In a statement released today, the company dropped earnings expectations as well. Earlier this year the company guesstimated a $1.58 per-share increase during 2007 -- now, it's down to $1.25. "This is by far the most difficult operating environment in the history of the company," Engles says in the media release. "2007 results have been well short of our expectations." Though the stock finished up 71 cents (or 2.78 percent) at the close of business yesterday, says here Dean Foods' shares sank $2.06 in premarket trading this morning. --Robert Wilonsky

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