By Micah Maidenberg
General Mills Inc. reported stronger sales for its latest quarter, but growth was a bit slower than in the spring when consumers first locked down as officials tried to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.
General Mills reported a profit of $638.9 million, or $1.03 a share, for its fiscal first quarter that ended Aug. 30, up from $520.6 million, or 85 cents a share, the year earlier.
Adjusted earnings of $1 a share were ahead of the 87 cents a share that analysts polled by FactSet predicted for that metric.
The maker of cereals like Cheerios, Nature Valley granola bars, Bisquick mixes and other food items on Wednesday said it generated $4.36 billion in sales for the latest period, up from $4 billion the year earlier and beating expectations from analysts.
On a comparable basis, sales were up 10%, a gain the company said reflected in part elevated demand from consumers to prepare food at home as well as higher prices.
For its previous quarter, which ended May 31, comparable sales rose 16%.
In its business selling items to retailers in the U.S. and Canada, the Minneapolis-based company said it saw stronger demand for refrigerated baked goods, dessert mixes and soup, as well as gains in the U.S. for its cereals and yogurt products.
The packaged-food industry has caught a tailwind for much of this year because the pandemic reshuffled how consumers approached food. Families have been preparing more food to eat at home amid closures and, later, capacity limitations on restaurant dining rooms.
More recently, however, consumers who tapped enhanced unemployment benefits from the federal government have pulled back on spending at grocery stores after that benefit expired in July.
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