General Mills has reported results for the first quarter of fiscal 2013. The period includes two months of incremental contribution from the Yoplait International acquisition completed in July 2011, and three months of results for the Food Should Taste Good, Yoplait Ireland and Parampara Foods businesses acquired during the final quarter of fiscal 2012.
Net sales for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 26, 2012, grew 5 percent to $4.05 billion. Pound volume contributed 9 points of sales growth, primarily reflecting acquisitions. Price realization and mix reduced net sales growth by 2 points, and foreign exchange subtracted 2 points of sales growth. Gross margin as reported was above year-ago levels, but excluding mark-to-market effects underlying gross margin was 40 basis points below year-ago levels.
Total marketing spending in the quarter was weighted toward in-store promotional support for established brands and new product introductions; advertising and media expense was 7 percent below year-ago levels. Total segment operating profit grew 6 percent to $769 million.
First-quarter net earnings attributable to General Mills totaled $549 million and diluted earnings per share totaled 82 cents. These results include a 7-cent per share net benefit from mark-to-market valuation of certain commodity positions, and a 10-cent net benefit related to a discrete tax item. These benefits were partially offset by charges totaling 1-cent per share for restructuring actions taken in 2012 and acquisition-related integration expense. Adjusted diluted earnings per share, which excludes the items discussed above, totaled 66 cents in the first quarter of 2013 compared to 64 cents in last year's first quarter.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Powell said this start has the company on pace to achieve its fiscal 2013 targets. "Results for the first quarter were broadly consistent with our plans, and included sequential improvement in our volume and gross margin trends from the fourth quarter of 2012," he said in a prepared statement.