UPDATE 1-General Mills cuts sales, profit growth forecast

viernes 7 de noviembre de 2014 11:50 GYT

(Adds details, current-quarter forecast, background; updates shares)

Nov 7 (Reuters) - General Mills Inc, the maker of Cheerios cereal and Betty Crocker cake mixes, cut its full-year sales and profit growth forecast, blaming weak demand in the United States and slowing growth in its key emerging markets.

The company's shares fell as much as 4 percent to $51.10 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

General Mills' sales in recent quarters have been hit by intense competition from private-label brands and new breakfast options such as frozen egg sandwiches and yogurt.

In an interview in September, Chief Executive Ken Powell pointed to a tough retail environment where sales of non-durable goods, which include food and beverage items, have been flat to down.

The company said on Friday its U.S. foods business, which accounts for more than half of its revenue, is now expected to show an operating profit decline.

Sales in the division have fallen in the past four quarters. Its brands include Green Giant canned and frozen vegetables, Progresso soup and Pillsbury frozen foods.

The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company's sales in international markets, which include Canada, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East, have also been slowing.

In a bid to curb a slide in sales, General Mills acquired organic foods producer Annie's Inc for $820 million in September.   Continuación...