Finally on Monday, we announced the signing of the definitive agreement to acquire the Wish-Bone and Western salad dressings brand from Unilever. If you haven't seen the release or did not participate on our conference call on Monday, you can find both on our website.
Before turning this call over to Bob, I'd like to remind you that our discussion this morning may include forward-looking statements which are subject to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially; and the company undertakes no obligation to update these statements based upon subsequent events. A detailed discussion of these risks and uncertainties is contained in the company's filing with the SEC.
With that I'll hand it over to Bob.
Chief Executive Officer
Thanks, Maria, and thanks everyone for joining us today.
This second quarter was another eventful one for Pinnacle. Immediately following our successful IPO we refinanced all of our remaining debt which reduced our interest expense and enhanced our strategic and financial flexibility to drive shareholder value.
On Monday of this week, we announced the acquisition of Wish-Bone salad dressings which we believe is a perfect fit with our existing portfolio and our mission of reinvigorating iconic brand; more on both topics later.
First let me discuss our second quarter operating performance.
Following a strong Q1, we delivered another quarter of earnings growth in Q2 with adjusted EBITDA up 10% on a pro forma basis and net earnings up 65%, driving diluted EPS to $0.29 versus $0.17 last year.
We also held market share across the composite of our category, although category trends were negative in part due to the earlier timing of Easter.
As you will recall, our long-term growth objective is to grow in line with our categories. And for the first six months of this year, Pinnacle's retail consumption has slightly outpaced the performance of our composite categories which were down 0.8%.
Our consolidated net sales in the second quarter were down 3% with the majority of the decline due to our specialty segment where we have improving low margin, unbranded businesses from our portfolio. Excluding the impact of Easter timing, sales for North American retail were down less than a percentage point in the quarter.
Birds Eye Division sales were up, strengthened the leadership plans which benefited from new products introduced last quarter while Duncan Hines Division sales were down in the quarter principally due to heightened competitive activity in comparison against last year's introduction of Frosting Creations.