General Mills puts up strong quarterly numbers, pet sales up

MICHELLE CHAPMAN
FILE- In this Aug. 8, 2018, file photo boxes of General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios cereal sit on display in a market in Pittsburgh. General Mills Inc. reports financial results Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

General Mills' fiscal first quarter adjusted profit exceeded expectations as the maker of Cheerios cereal continues to make adjustments to adapt to consumers' changing tastes.

"We are making clear progress in becoming a nimbler, more consumer-connected General Mills," Chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening said in a prepared statement.

General Mills and other food producers have been shifting their product lineups to become leaner and more focused on brands that resonate with shoppers. Much of that involves foods that are healthier or at least perceived to be healthier, while jettisoning brands that have fallen out of favor. In April rival Kellogg said it would Keebler and other brands for $1.3 billion.

General Mills Inc, which also makes Yoplait yogurt and other packaged foods, earned $520.6 million, or 85 cents per share, for the period ended Aug. 25. A year earlier it earned $392.3 million, or 65 cents per share.

Adjusted for one-time gains and costs, earnings were 79 cents per share. That's two cents better than what analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research predicted.

Revenue totaled $4 billion. Wall Street expected $4.09 billion.

Sales for the pet segment rose 7%, while U.S. cereal sales edged up 1%. The company closed on its $8 billion purchase of pet products company Blue Buffalo in April 2018.

The Minneapolis company still foresees fiscal 2020 adjusted earnings up 3% to 5% from fiscal 2019's $3.22 per share.

Shares rose slightly to $55.20 Wednesday.

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Portions of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on GIS at https://www.zacks.com/ap/GIS