General Mills Inc. said Thursday that it plans to cut more than 600 jobs with the closure of two more plants over the next three years, as the maker of Cheerios cereal and Hamburger Helper looks to improve profitability amid lackluster sales.
The Minneapolis company has been cutting jobs and closing plants as it struggles with Americans’ growing shift away from packaged foods.
General Mills said it has notified union members that it plans to close its West Chicago, Ill., plant to cut excess cereal and dry dinner capacity. General Mills said the decision, which could impact about 500 jobs, is pending negotiations with the labor union.
General Mills also decided to close its snacks manufacturing plant in Joplin, Mo., a move that will impact 120 jobs.
As a result of the plant closures, General Mills said it would take about $81 million in charges during fiscal 2016. The Illinois plant, expected to shut in 2019, will result in a total cost of about $120 million. The Missouri closure, which will be completed by the end of fiscal 2018, will result in roughly $12 million in costs.
The planned closures follow General Mills’ January announcement that it would close two Pillsbury dough factories, adding to the roughly 1,400 job cuts it announced last year. It also announced a fresh restructuring plan last month, saying it expects to cut 675 to 725 positions abroad.
General Mills is carrying out a multiyear cost-cutting effort that it has warned would involve reducing its production capacity for slower-growth foods, like cereal and cake mix.
The company said earlier this month that it expects cost-cutting efforts to save $285 million to $310 million in its 2016 fiscal year.
By Chelsey Dulaney and Lisa Beilfuss