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Baking, Cereal Demand Boosts General Mills' Sales, Shares Rise

General Mills Inc beat sales and profit estimates for the first quarter on Wednesday, as people stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic stocked up on its baking products and cereals.

Shares of the Yoplait yogurt maker climbed 3.5% in premarket trading, as the company also raised its quarterly dividend by 4%.

With people working from home and students taking online classes, there has been a surge in demand for breakfast cereals and yogurt in kitchens across North America.

A wave of new amateur bakers has also boosted sales of the company's Pillsbury and Betty Crocker lines of dough, and cake and brownie mixes. This pushed the company's sales in North America up 14%.

At-Home Demand

General Mills said it expects second-quarter at-home demand to remain elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels, with high single-digit retail sales growth estimated in North America.

Net sales for the quarter ended Aug. 30 climbed to $4.36 billion from about $4 billion a year earlier, beating analysts' expectation of $4.21 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. U.S. sales of the company's meals and baking products rose 31%.

Net earnings attributable to General Mills jumped nearly 23% to $638.9 million, or $1.03 per share.

Excluding items, the company earned $1 per share, beating analysts' expectations of 87 cents.

News by Reuters edited by Checkout. Edited by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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