General Mills Inc posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by sales of new items like chocolate Cheerios cereal and the company's continuing focus on cost cuts.

The better-than-expected results came even as General Mills boosted advertising and media expenses by 33 percent.

The company, which also makes Yoplait yogurt and Progresso soup, posted profit of $332.5 million, or 96 cents a share, for the third quarter ended February 28, compared with $288.9 million, or 85 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 97 cents a share. Analysts on average had forecast 93 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

For the year, General Mills now sees earnings of $4.57 to $4.59 a share, excluding one-time items. That compares with its previous forecast of $4.52 to $4.57 and with analysts' estimates of $4.60.

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