Cheerios maker General Mills' sales fall for seventh straight quarter

Customers shop near a display of General Mills Cheerios cereal at a Costco Wholesale Corp. store in Louisville, Kentucky.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Customers shop near a display of General Mills Cheerios cereal at a Costco Wholesale Corp. store in Louisville, Kentucky.

General Mills reported its seventh straight quarterly sales decline on Tuesday, hurt by weak demand for its yogurt and baking products, as the company discounted less amid pricing competition in the United States.

The maker of Cheerios breakfast cereal said net sales fell 5.2 percent to $3.79 billion in the third quarter ended Feb. 26, falling short of analysts’ average estimate of $3.82 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

General Mills, like rivals ConAgra Brands and Campbell Soup, has faced lackluster demand for its processed foods as consumer tastes shift toward fresh foods and items seen as healthier.

The company has been spending less on products such as Progresso and Pillsbury refrigerated dough by reducing promotions. It has invested more in profitable businesses such as Cheerios cereal.

Net income attributable to General Mills fell to $357.8 million or 61 cents per share in the quarter, from $361.7 million or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 72 cents per share, beating the average analyst expectation by a cent.

Minneapolis-based General Mills’ shares were down 1.3 percent at $59.50 before the bell.

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