June 28 (Reuters) - Cheerios cereal maker General Mills Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as the company cut back on promotions and kept a tight lid on costs.
General Mills and other U.S. packaged food makers such as Conagra Brands Inc and Kellogg Co have focused on reining in costs to counter soft demand due to a shift among consumers to fresh foods and products seen as healthier.
General Mills has been cutting back on promotions, particularly on high-margin products such as Progresso soups and Pillsbury dough, even at the cost of losing some sales.
Selling and other expenses fell 10.2 percent to $2.80 billion in the fourth quarter, with advertising and media expenses dropping 17 percent.
Net income attributable to the company rose to $408.9 million, or 69 cents per share, in the three months ended May 28, from $379.6 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 73 cents per share.
The company’s net sales fell 3.1 percent to $3.81 billion, capping two years of falling quarterly sales, but beat the analysts’ average estimate for the first time in a year.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 71 cents per share and revenue of $3.75 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila