New Products, Job Cuts Loom As General Mills Sales Slide
General Mills saw a slump in sales and earnings in its second quarter, a day after the Golden Valley-based food production giant announced dozens of new product offerings to stave off further declines.
Net sales for the company’s fiscal 2015 second quarter, which ended Nov. 23, were $4.71 billion, down 3 percent from the same time last year. Net earnings dropped nearly 37 percent. Still, the adjusted earnings per share of 80 cents beat analysts’ expectations, according to Zacks Investment Research.
“The operating environment remains challenging but, as we move into the second half of our fiscal year, we expect to renew sales and profit growth,” CEO Ken Powell said in a statement.
General Mills has struggled to meet Wall Street’s expectations in recent quarters and is currently in the process of eliminating as many as 800 jobs. The company hinted that many of these cuts would come during the next two quarters, saying it would “reduce overhead costs” and streamline its North America supply chain. Those cuts are expected to save the company $40 million during the rest of the fiscal year alone.
Domestically, snacks and yogurt product lines performed the best, posting net sales gains, while cereal, baking products and meals saw declines. During Wednesday’s earnings call, COO of U.S. retail Jeff Harmening said the company’s top two strategies were improving the flagging cereal sales followed by strengthening the already positive yogurt segment.
As part of those efforts, the company announced more than 50 new products on Tuesday for segments such as breakfast cereals, better-for-you snacking, convenience meals and desserts. Among the notable: the return of French Toast Crunch years after it was discontinued, a Yoplait whipped Greek yogurt with only 100 calories and Totino’s Pizza Rolls that are “blasted with unforgettable flavor seasonings like ranch and cheddar.”
Despite largely bad news, General Mills’ stock remained nearly unchanged, in part due to the company besting expectations. By midday Wednesday, share prices ticked up just below 1 percent to $51.47.