General Mills Beats Profit Expectations But Sales Fall Shy

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of General Mills Inc. fell 0.8% in premarket trade Tuesday, after the branded consumer foods company reported a fiscal third-quarter profit that beat expectations but sales that fell a bit short. Net earnings for the quarter to Feb. 26 came to $357.8 million, or 61 cents a share, compared with $361.7 million, or 59 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings per share were 72 cents, above the FactSet consensus of 71 cents. Revenue declined 5.2% to $3.79 billion from $4.00 billion, just below the FactSet consensus of $3.82 billion. The company attributed the sales decline to gaps in pricing and promotional activity in key U.S. businesses. North America revenue dropped 7.0% to $2.50 billion, and convenience stores and foodservice revenue declined 1.1% to $448.5 million. Looking ahead, the company expects fiscal 2017 adjusted EPS to rise 5% to 7% above last year's $2.92; the FactSet consensus of $3.06 implied 4.8% growth. The stock has lost 2.4% year to date through Monday, while the S&P 500 has gained 6%.

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