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General Mills Eases on Outlook for Food Demand Balance, Cost Inflation

General Mills says cost inflation and the balance between at-home and away-from-home food demand are the keys to its next fiscal year.

Shares of General Mills  (GIS) - Get General Mills, Inc. (GIS) Report eased on Wednesday after the cereal maker reported stronger-than-expected adjusted fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings but cited uncertainty about the fiscal 2022 outlook.

For the quarter ended May 30 the Minneapolis company earned 68 cents a share compared with $1.02 in the year-earlier quarter. The latest adjusted earnings were 91 cents a share.

Revenue fell 10% to $4.52 billion from $5.02 billion. 

Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting adjusted earnings of 85 cents per share on revenue of $4.36 billion. 

Fourth-quarter gross margin narrowed 0.2 percentage point to 35%.

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"[The] largest factors" affecting General Mills in fiscal 2022 "will be relative balance of at-home versus away-from-home consumer food demand and the inflationary cost environment, both of which remain uncertain," the company said in a statement.

"The company expects at-home food demand will decline year over year in fiscal 2022 across most of its core markets, though will remain above pre-pandemic levels," the company said. Roughly 85% of its net sales are from at-home food.

"Conversely, away-from-home food demand is expected to continue to recover in fiscal 2022, though not fully to pre-pandemic levels," General Mills said.

"[These] dynamics are expected to result in lower aggregate consumer demand in the company's categories in fiscal 2022" compared with fiscal 2021.

Net sales excluding acquired businesses are expected to decline 1% to 3%, with adjusted operating profit expected to decline 2% to 4%.