The company reported a profit of $548.9 million, or 82¢ per share, an increase from the $405.6 million, or 61¢ per share, reported for the same period last year. Excluding items such as restructuring charges, earnings were up to 66¢ from 64¢ a year ago.
Sales increased 5.3% to $4.05 billion, and gross margin rose to 40.2% from 37.6%.
For the U.S. retail segment, the largest by revenue, net sales fell 0.7%, while operating profit decreased 1.7%. Bakeries and foodservice segment sales were down 2%, and operating profit climbed 10%.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Powell said this start has the company on pace to achieve its fiscal 2013 targets.
“Results for the first quarter were broadly consistent with our plans, and included sequential improvement in our volume and gross margin trends from the fourth quarter of 2012,” he said.
Looking ahead, Powell said in the core U.S. market, the company is seeing slow improvement in price and volume trends across its retail food categories.
“As we move into the second-quarter, we’ll be putting full advertising support behind our new items, and we have planned strong levels of in-store merchandising across our product categories,” he said. “Outside the U.S., our established international businesses are showing good momentum and, beginning in the second-quarter, results will include incremental contributions from Yoplait Canada and Yoki Alimentos in Brazil.”