General Mills Reports Lower Sales, Profits Amid Restructuring Effort, Pricing Pressure

General Mills reported sales and profit declines this week in its latest quarterly financial results.

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

General Mills reported sales and profit declines this week in its latest quarterly financial results.

The Minnesota company, which makes a wide variety of breakfast cereals and owns the Pillsbury, Progresso and Yoplait brands, said that operating profit was down 7 percent compared to the same quarter one year ago and that net sales declined by 5 percent.

General Mills suffered in recent years as consumers increasingly turned away from packaged foods, but the company attributed its third quarter sales decrease to "gaps in pricing and promotional activity in key U.S. businesses" — particularly regarding Yoplait yogurt and Progresso soup.

Profits, meanwhile, were hurt by restructuring charges as the company undergoes a reorganization announced late last year.

Executives announced a new global structure of four business groups that reported to president and COO Jeff Harmening, along with the elimination of another 400 to 600 jobs.

The company said this week that its recent cost savings efforts helped boost its adjusted operating profit margin.

"We've added support in the fourth quarter to strengthen key business lines, and we're pursuing global growth priorities that will further improve our sales trends beyond fiscal 2017," Chairman and CEO Ken Powell said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the sales decline exceeded analysts' expectations and that the company was pessimistic about comparable sales for the remainder of the fiscal year.

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