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New and established products bolster General Mills Q4, fiscal 2013 results

MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills saw growth for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year ended May 26, thanks to new product offerings as well as established product lines.

The company reported net sales of $17.8 billion for fiscal 2013, an increase of 7% from 16.7 billion in fiscal 2012. 

Products making the strongest contributions to U.S. retail segment net sales growth in 2013 included new items, such as Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch cereal, Yoplait Greek 100 calorie yogurt and Nature Valley Protein Bars, along with established brands including Lucky Charms cereal, Progresso ready-to-serve soups, Fiber One snack bars, Totino's frozen snacks and Pillsbury refrigerated baked goods.  

For the international segment, double-digit growth by Haagen Dazs ice cream and Wanchai Ferry frozen dim sum in China, and the newly acquired Yoki and Kitano brands in Brazil, led the overall sales increase. In the Bakeries and Foodservice segment, items including Chex Mix snack varieties, Pillsbury heat-and-serve breakfast items and Yoplait Parfait Pro Greek yogurt made strong contributions to 2013 sales. 

"Our 2013 results reflect good growth from established product lines and important contributions from new businesses added during the year,” said chairman and CEO Ken Powell. “Each of our three operating segments posted profit growth. Our cash flow from operating activities rose 22%, and we returned nearly $1.9 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchase activity. In addition, we exited the year with momentum that enabled us to finish 2013 a bit better than our original estimates."

Net sales for the fourth quarter rose 8% to $4.4 billion from $4 billion for the quarter last year, with pound volume up 11%. New businesses contributed 7 points of the net sales growth. Excluding new businesses, net sales grew 1%, including 2 points of pound volume growth. Net earnings attributable to General Mills increased 13% to $366 million from $325.4 for the quarter last year.

"Our business plans for 2014 include strong levels of innovation on established product lines and a high-quality lineup of new products," Powell said regarding the company’s outlook. "We also will have three months of incremental contribution from Yoki and Yoplait Canada. In total, we expect our net sales to grow at a low single-digit rate in 2014 to exceed $18 billion."

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