Food company General Mills Inc. said Wednesday it had net income of $186.8 million, or 30 cents a share, in its fiscal fourth quarter, down from $404.6 million, or 65 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 75 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 71 cents. Sales of $4.3 billion were little changed from the year earlier, but slightly below the $4.5 billion FactSet consensus. "General Mills fiscal 2015 operating performance was mixed," Chief Executive Ken Powell said in a statement. The company's convenience stores and foodservice business recorded good sales growth and improved operating profit margins, and its international segment also expanded margins and grew profit. But U.S. retail sales and profit declined, reflecting changing consumer food preferences, he said. General Mills recently announced plans to remove artificial flavors and colorings from cereals. The company is expecting fiscal 2016 sales to match its 2015 sales, which included a 53rd week. It expects adjusted EPS to grow at a mid single-digit rate on a constant currency basis. Shares were not yet active in premarket trade, but are up about 4% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained 0.2%.
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