General Mills, the US-based group behind brands including Cheerios and Old El Paso, today (28 June) reported lower annual sales and profits - and forecast another year of a decline its top line.

General Mills FY group results

Source: General Mills

The 6% fall in the Yoplait maker's annual net sales was the third successive financial year in which the company's top line had contracted.

General Mills reported lower net sales from its North America Retail division - the company's largest by sales - from its combined domestic convenience and foodservice unit and from its joint Europe and Australia arm.

The group did see the annual net sales from its combined Asia and Latin America division inch up 1%, thanks in part to its Haagen-Dazs ice cream business and its operations in China.

On an organic basis, General Mills' group net sales dropped 4% in the year to 28 May.

General Mills' annual operating profit fell 5% to $2.57bn, although the company's adjusted operating profit - stripping out factors including restructuring costs - was higher, with an increase in its adjusted operating profit margin.

The group said it expects the new year's adjusted operating profit margin to be "above year-ago levels".

General Mills' reported net earnings stood at $1.66bn, down from $1.7bn a year-ago.

CEO Jeff Harmening, who took the reins last month after being promoted from COO, said: "While we took important steps in fiscal 2017 to globalise our business structure, accelerate our cost-savings efforts, expand our margins, and drive growth in adjusted diluted EPS, our results on the topline fell well short of our standards. Our entire organisation is moving with urgency in fiscal 2018 to meaningfully improve our net sales trends while keeping a sharp eye on our efficiency."