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Customers shop near a display of General Mills Cheerios cereal at a Costco Wholesale store in Louisville, Kentucky.
Shares of General Mills jumped 4 percent during premarket trading Wednesday as the company's cost-cutting initiatives paid off for its profits.
"We had a strong third quarter, with positive organic sales growth and significant operating margin expansion," CEO Jeff Harmening said in a statement.
The food company earned 83 cents per share, on an adjusted basis, during the fiscal third quarter, topping the 69 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. General Mills also reported revenue in line with estimates of $4.20 billion.
With one quarter left in its fiscal 2019, General Mills raised its outlook for earnings growth to flat to up 1 percent. It previously estimated a range from flat to down 3 percent due to accounting changes from its acquisition of pet food company Blue Buffalo. Analysts were expecting the earnings to decline by 1.2 percent.
Organic sales grew by 1 percent during the quarter, beating Wall Street estimates of 0.6 percent. Sales for its largest business, North American retail, were flat for the quarter, despite the food company's efforts to entice consumers through marketing and product innovation.
The company also narrowed its fiscal 2019 net sales and organic sales growth to the lower end of its previous outlook range. It now expects net sales growth to be closer to 9 percent than 10 percent and organic net sales growth closer to flat than 1 percent.