General Mills' Powell says "greek" yogurt sales doubled in the quarter. The company has been playing catch-up in the product category.
Powell says the company has about 100 new products that will be launched in the remainder of the fiscal year.
Powell is talking about the company's fast growth in China. The next few days are the autumn harvest festival holiday there and the company's Haagen Dazs ice cream does well at that time.
An analyst is asking how to model the company's US sales in coming quarters and he wonders whether the sales jump in the latest quarter came from inventory buildup due to new products.
Powell says year-ago inventories were low and were more normal in the latest period. Powell says they see some good reception and "encouraging trends" from the new products. CFO Mulligan repeats target of low single-digit growth for US sales.
An analyst has asked the General Mills executives for their outlook on the global economy. Powell says, in contrast to some analysis about softening in emerging markets, that General Mills has been doing well in places like China and Brazil. He says the products are "very well targeted" to local taste. He cited dim sum products in greater China.
General Mills execs are talking about the almost micro-marketing efforts they have been doing, such as with the revival of the monsters cereal for September and October. Powell says digital marketing is a big driver of the effort. Murphy says, "You can try a lot of ideas with very little money."
An analyst is asking about the broad trend of people eating less cereal. "Velocities being off..." He wonders if retailers will cut back on space for cereals.
Mills execs say it is still a $10 billion business. "We haven't heard a lot of noise about retailers questioning the space they give to cereals."
Candice is AP's food reporter...
General Mills execs say the company is now at a "fair run rate" of expenses. SG&A described as sustainable. Translation: no restructurings on the horizon.
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Analysts continue to press on whether the cereal category is under pressure, despite the strong results General Mills showed in the category during the just-ended quarter. Execs say they've seen this story before, such as when bagels became a breakfast craze in the US and during the Atkins Diet frenzy about a decade ago. "We tend to be able to innovate our way out of this," they said.
The call has just finished. They took questions for an hour.
Mike says the analysts' interest in cereal is likely to drive the coverage the rest of the day. He said it was rare for the company to have their top cereal executive on the call with analysts.
General Mills shares spiked above $50 at the NYSE open but have settled back to trading up just a few cents.
The airport is very busy today... They just advised via Twitter that there's no parking at the main terminal....