General Mills: Portfolio & Initiatives Solid, US Sales Low

On Dec 2, we issued an updated research report on General Mills, Inc. (GIS - Free Report) – a global manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer food products through retail stores.

General Mills' shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized Food-Miscellaneous Preparation/Diversified industry year to date. While the stock has gained around 5%, the broader market had witnessed a gain of 3.4% in the same time period.

Advantages

General Mills has an impressive portfolio of growth products and brands, especially its healthy and convenience packages. Currently, 75% of its cereals are free of artificial flavors and colors. The company is committed toward removing such ingredients from its entire cereals portfolio by 2017.

The company focuses on maintaining a steady pipeline of products to boost sales momentum and capture market share. In fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 General Mills plans to invest in growing brands and platforms.

Most of the growth businesses showed positive momentum in fiscal 2016 and management plans to drive growth in these businesses in 2017 through innovation, renovation along with media and in-store support.

General Mills is gradually shifting the geographic mix of its business towards the international markets with particular focus on the emerging markets such as China, Brazil, India and Russia where consumer spending growth is positive. The rising pool of middle-class consumers in emerging markets thus represents a huge opportunity for branded consumer companies.

General Mills is currently pursuing many multi-year restructuring initiatives focused at improving operational efficiency to generate cost savings and support its key growth strategies.

US Sales Down

General Mills, like many other U.S. food producers, has been struggling due to the shift in consumer preference toward natural and organic food. Sales and profits at its U.S. Retail segment, which contributes 60% to sales, have been declining since fiscal 2015.

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