Yoplait yogurt’s parent company, General Mills, Minneapolis, reported that first quarter net sales declined 2% to $4.27 billion and segment operating profit totaled $690 million, down 15% from year-ago results as reported and in constant currency for the 13 weeks ended August 24.Read the full press release (including the financials) here.

"In U.S. Retail, our Yoplait yogurt business returned to growth, with volume, sales, and market share gains,” said General Mills Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Powell in a statement today.

[Read the Dairyfoods.com report: "Yoplait yogurts are part of General Mills’ big new product launch this year"]

Powell added that several other key product lines including Big G cereals, grain bars, and fruit snacks achieved market share increases.

“Our Convenience Stores and Foodservice segment generated sales growth and an 18% operating profit increase. And our International business segment posted 17% constant-currency profit growth with good constant-currency sales gains, notably in Latin America and Europe," Powell said.

General Mills introduced more than 250 new items worldwide during the first quarter. It cited “significant U.S. retail launches,” including new flavor varieties of Yoplait Greek and Greek 100 yogurt. Among the international product launches were Haagen-Dazs Triple Sensations ice cream varieties in Europe.

U.S. Retail Segment Results

First-quarter net sales for General Mills' U.S. Retail segment totaled $2.44 billion, down 5% from the prior year. The Snacks, Yoplait and Small Planet Foods divisions achieved net sales gains in the quarter. Advertising and media expense essentially matched year-ago levels. Segment operating profit totaled $457 million compared to $612 million a year ago, reflecting the unfavorable price realization, mix, and lower volume.

International Segment Results

First-quarter net sales for General Mills' consolidated international businesses grew 2% to $1.35 billion. On a constant-currency basis, International segment net sales rose 6% overall, including gains of 20% in Latin America, 4% in the Asia-Pacific region, and 4% in Europe. Sales in Canada declined 2% on a constant-currency basis, primarily reflecting the exit of select business lines.

Convenience Stores and Foodservice Segment Results

First-quarter net sales for the Convenience Stores and Foodservice segment totaled $473 million, up 1% from year-ago results. Pound volume subtracted 1 point of net sales growth, while price realization and mix contributed 2 points of growth. Yogurt, frozen breakfast, and snacks led sales performance in the quarter. Segment operating profit grew 18% to $87 million.

Joint Venture Summary

Combined after-tax earnings from the Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) and Haagen-Dazs Japan (HDJ) joint ventures totaled $26 million, up 7% from prior-year results. Constant-currency after tax earnings from joint ventures grew 5%. Constant-currency net sales grew 3% for HDJ, and were down 1% for CPW.