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General Mills profit beats

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. packaged foods maker General Mills Inc <GIS.N> posted a slightly better-than-expected quarterly profit and affirmed its full-year target, helped by increased sales of its cereals, yogurt and snacks.

The maker of Cheerios cereal, Progresso soups and Pillsbury baked goods said it expects its sales and earnings growth to accelerate as the year progresses.

"The global operating environment is still quite challenging, but our food businesses are resilient," General Mills Chief Executive Ken Powell said in a statement.

The company said it still expects fiscal 2011 earnings of $2.46 to $2.48 per share, excluding the impact of revaluing certain commodity positions.

In its fiscal first quarter that ended on August 29, General Mills' net income was $472.1 million, or 70 cents per share, up from $420.6 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings were 64 cents per share, topping analysts' average estimate of 63 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, by a penny.

Net sales rose 1.5 percent to $3.53 billion, missing analysts' average estimate of $3.57 billion.

Sales in the company's U.S. retail segment rose 2 percent, helped by increases in volume and average price.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)

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