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General Mills 1Q Sales Rise on Acquisitions

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 9:03am

NEW YORK (AP) — General Mills reported better-than-expected sales for its fiscal first quarter on Wednesday, as the packaged food maker benefited from a mix of new products in the U.S. and acquisitions overseas.

Net income fell, however, as the year-ago results were boosted by one-time items, including a tax benefit.

The Minneapolis-based company, whose brands include Betty Crocker, Cheerios and Yoplait, has been working to revive its key U.S. business units. In yogurt, for example, General Mills has been scrambling to catch up with the booming popularity of Greek yogurt by rolling out Greek versions of its Yoplait yogurt. To boost sluggish cereal sales, the company is employing a variety of tactics, such as trying to evoke nostalgia among adults for its Lucky Charms cereal.

In the latest quarter, the company touted new products such as its Yoplait Greek yogurt and Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch for helping contribute to a sales gain, but overall volume in its U.S. retail segment increased just one percent.

Higher prices helped lift sales in the U.S. by 4 percent, to $2.58 billion.

In the international unit, sales rose 22 percent to $1.32 billion, lifted by acquisitions including Yoplait Canada and Yoki Alimentos food line in Brazil.

For the three months ended Aug. 5, the company said it earned $459.3 million, or 70 cents per share, which was in line with Wall Street's average expectations. Last year, the company earned $548.9 million, or 82 cents per share. The adjusted earnings a year ago were 66 cents per share.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $4.37 billion, better than the $4.3 billion analysts expected, according to FactSet.

The company stood by its outlook for the year, with low single-digit sales growth for the year. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to be between $2.87 and $2.90. Analysts, on average, are expecting profit of $2.92 per share, with estimates ranging from $2.85 to $3.

Shares of General Mills Inc. added 50 cents to $50.28 in pre-market trading. The stock closed Tuesday up 23 percent since the start of the year.

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