General Mills logoGeneral Mills, Minneapolis, said net sales for the 13 weeks ended Feb. 24, 2013, grew 8% to $4.43 billion. Contributions from new businesses in this period primarily reflect operating results for Yoki Alimentos in Brazil and Yoplait Canada. Excluding new businesses, net sales grew 2% with 1 point of growth from higher pound volume. Gross margin was below year-ago levels primarily reflecting higher input costs.

The company said products making the strongest contributions to U.S. Retail net sales growth in the third quarter included new items such as Yoplait Greek 100 yogurt, Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch cereal and established brands. In the Bakeries and Foodservice segment, the Yoplait Parfait Pro yogurt line, Pillsbury hot breakfast items, and new Minibon cinnamon rolls made strong contributions to third-quarter sales.

Yoplait lactose free yogurtYoplait yogurt varieties in Europe, along with Haagen Dazs super-premium ice cream and Wanchai Ferry frozen dim sum varieties in China helped drive International sales growth.

In the fourth quarter, General Mills said it expects supply chain costs to be above year-ago levels. The company continues to estimate fiscal 2013 input cost inflation of 3%. Fourth-quarter spending to support in-store merchandising also is expected to be above year-ago levels. Adjusted diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter are expected to be below year-ago results that grew 15%.