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General Mills Looks Solid on Pet Unit & Cost-Saving Efforts

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General Mills, Inc. GIS has been benefiting from its focus on key global strategies and acquisition prospects. Moreover, the company has been investing in consumer-centric innovation and marketing to boost the top line. This apart, management is on track with its cost-saving plans. Let’s take a closer look at the factors driving General Mills’ performance.

Blue Buffalo Buyout: Growth Driver

General Mills is working toward strengthening its portfolio via prudent buyouts. Markedly, it acquired Blue Buffalo Pet Products in fiscal 2018, which is now part of the Pet segment and significantly contributes to the top line. During the second quarter, the company witnessed sales growth only in the Pet segment. Management anticipates sales in the segment to grow 8-10% on a like-for-like basis in fiscal 2020. Also, it is encouraged about the long-term growth prospects of this segment.

Other Growth Endeavors

General Mills is on track with the Consumer First strategy and key global growth initiatives to drive the top line. To this end, the company focuses on innovation, efficient customer marketing and strong in-store execution to sharpen its competitive edge. Management is also focusing on the Compete, Accelerate and Reshape growth framework. Additionally, it is concentrating on improving the U.S. Yogurt business, expanding presence in emerging nations, stabilizing distribution channels and enhancing price mix.

With evolving consumer food preferences, General Mills is investing in consumer-focused innovation and marketing as well as accelerating the natural and organic product portfolio to boost sales. In this respect, the company expects to reap benefits from Annie’s — General Mills’ biggest natural and organic brand. Other noteworthy brands included in this category are Bunny Grahams, Muir Glen tomatoes and EPIC meat bars. The natural products platform is likely to continue expanding in the forthcoming periods.

Apart from this, the company expects to achieve cost savings through increased efficiency, reduced complexity through SKU optimization, supply-chain optimization and continued expansion of zero-based budgeting. Also, it is on track with its Holistic Margin Management (HMM) program, which is expected to continue generating increased savings.

Backed by such upsides, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has rallied 31.1% in the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 16.1%. We believe that the aforementioned drivers are most likely to help General Mills maintain its solid position in investors’ good books.

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