General Mills Inc posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by strong sales in the United States and lower commodity costs.

The maker of Cheerios cereal and Yoplait yogurt said profit rose to $420.6 million, or $1.25 a share, in the first quarter ended August 30 from $278.5 million, or 79 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding changes in the market value of commodity hedges the company holds, earnings were $1.28 a share. Wall Street analysts had forecast $1.03, according to Reuters Estimates.

General Mills has counted on a steady supply of new products and cost-cutting measures, as well as higher prices, to help lift profits.

The company said it now expects earnings of $4.40 to 4.45 a share, excluding items, for the full year, up from its previous forecast of $4.20 to $4.25. Analysts on average forecast $4.27, according to Reuters Estimates.

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)