General Mills fiscal 1Q sales fall short

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NEW YORK (AP) - General Mills Inc. reported mixed first-quarter financial results as costs weighed down profit and a sales increase fell short of expectations.

Shares fell 3.7 percent, or $1.77, to $46 in premarket trading.

The Minneapolis-based company's profit fell 3.1 percent to $392.3 million, or 65 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and costs related to mergers and acquisitions, came to 71 cents per share.

Sales rose 8.6 percent to $4.09 billion on gains outside its core North America market.

The results were mixed, with profit topping Wall Street expectations of 64 cents per share, but revenue falling short of a forecast for $4.12 billion.

The maker of Cheerios cereal, Yoplait yogurt and other packaged foods faced increased costs during the quarter as it continues shifting its marketing strategy and focusing on healthier food options.

The company bought Blue Buffalo pet products earlier this year, expanding its offerings into the gourmet pet food market. It has also boosted marketing and its focus on brands including Haagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, and organic brands.

It also made a deal this year to create South Dakota's largest organic crop farm as the food giant works to secure enough organic ingredients to meet consumer demand.

Looking ahead, the company reaffirmed its fiscal 2019 outlook for sales and earnings per share.

General Mills shares have declined 19 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has increased 8 percent. The stock has fallen 14 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on GIS at https://www.zacks.com/ap/GIS

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