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General Mills to cut more jobs, close more plants

General Mills on Thursday announced another round of job cuts, the latest set of layoffs from the maker of Cheerios as it seeks to improve profitability amid lackluster sales.

The Minneapolis food giant, struggling to adapt to consumers' shifting preference for fresh and natural food options over packaged goods, is in the midst of a multiyear cost-cutting effort. It has announced several plant closures and thousands of job cuts in roughly the past year.

General Mills, which in January launched its expense-reduction program, said in a regulatory filing Thursday that it recently broadened the scope of the program "to identify opportunities to streamline our supply chain outside of North America" and plans to cut 285 positions as it closes manufacturing facilities in Berwick, United Kingdom and East Tamaki, New Zealand.

The company said it would take a resulting charge of between $47 million to $52 million, $25 million to $30 million of which it will book in its fiscal third quarter ending in February.

General Mills said the layoffs and plant closures will be completed by the end of fiscal 2017.

In July, the company said it expected to save $285 million to $310 million in its 2016 fiscal year as a result of cost cuts.

In the company's latest quarter, its extensive cost-cutting offset a sales decline and pushed profit up 24%.

Shares in the company, up 8.5% this year, were down 0.4% to $57.88 in morning trading.

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