Minneapolis / MN. (gm) General Mills Inc. reported results for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Net sales for the 13 weeks ended August 26 rose seven percent to 3,07 billion USD. Segment operating profits grew nine percent to 578 million USD, including an eleven percent increase in consumer marketing expense during the quarter. Net earnings totaled 289 million USD, up eight percent including restructuring costs. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) totaled 81 cents, up nine percent from 74 cents a year ago. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Sanger said: «This represents a very good start to the year. Our continuing growth reflects broad-based sales momentum, and even stronger operating profit growth despite challenging input-cost inflation and increased consumer marketing investment to build our brands» (news release).