U.S. food maker General Mills Inc said it expects fiscal 2009 earnings to exceed its prior profit outlook by several cents, due to a good operating performance and a lower quarterly tax rate.

General Mills' previous earnings view for fiscal 2009 was $3.87 to $3.89 a share, excluding certain items.

The company said in a statement its U.S. retail net sales growth is expected to moderate in 2010 from the 2009 levels when significant input-cost inflation necessitated stronger pricing actions by food manufacturers.

General Mills now expects 2010 input-cost inflation to be quite low, and retail net sales growth to be volume driven with little contribution from pricing.

The company said it would provide specific outlook for 2010 on July 1, but said it was comfortable with the current Reuters mean consensus earnings per share estimate of $4.15 per share for fiscal 2010.

Shares of the company closed at $52.16 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)