Financial results

Hershey on track to achieve first ever $600m seasonal sales

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

It's a happy Halloween for Hershey. Pic: Hershey
It's a happy Halloween for Hershey. Pic: Hershey

Related tags: Hershey, results

The US chocolate giant says it is on track to deliver its first ever $600m seasonal sales thanks to its strong sales performance leading up to Halloween.

According to Hershey’s Q3 earnings call, the company is currently executing a finish to the Halloween season in the US, both in store and online.

CEO Michele Buck said: “From core innovation and occasions programming, to strong sell-in with more than 500 employees volunteering at retail, we are out-performing the category.”

She noted the power of Hershey’s core brands, such as Reese’s and KitKat, and breadth of its portfolio had helped the company deliver “great assortments”​ for trick or treating parties.

“Our focus on optimizing mixes, piece counts and price points has driven strong mid-single-digit growth this year,”​ said Buck. “We also have exciting ‘Glow in the Dark’ packaging on select Hershey’s, Reese’s and KitKat products to add some additional magic to the season.”

As a result of the Halloween sales hike, Hershey’s candy, mint and gum (CMG) takeaway increased 0.4% year-over-year for the quarter ending October 14.

For Q3 overall, Hershey’s consolidated net sales of $2.08bn increased by 2.3% versus the last-year period, with its North America net sales posting $1.84bn, growing 2.9%.

Additionally, Hershey’s digital commerce net sales for the period increased over 60%.

Snacks growth

It is no secret that Hershey is expanding its snacks portfolio as it earlier set ambition to be a ‘snacking powerhouse’​ upon completing the acquisition of Amplify Snacks that owns SkinnyPop in late last year.

The SkinnyPop owner has since become Hershey’s better-for-you snacking hub, and it is now operating another snacks brand recently acquired by Hershey, Pirate Brands​.

Buck stressed that Pirate Brands marked the company’s second high-growth, high-margin acquisition this year to capture incremental snacking occasions.

“Pirate’s Booty, the principal brand in the portfolio, is a sizable fast-growing cheese puff brand with on-trend, better-for-you attributes and high margins… [the brand] is growing high single digits in measured channels year-to-date,”​ she said.

Amplify also continues to show “strong”​ growth in the marketplace, driven by both distribution and velocity gains, added Buck.

She said: “In measured channels, retail takeaway grew 10.3% in the latest 12 weeks… driven by core SkinnyPop ready-to-eat popcorn, which grew over 8%, resulting in a category share gain of one full point.”

New product launches

Buck announced several new products that will be launched later this year and next year, including a Hershey’s bar added with Reese’s pieces, which is considered the company’s first mash-up of its two most iconic brands.

“We also have our first new holiday-flavored Kisses in almost a decade this holiday,”​ she said.

Additionally, Hershey will introduce Reese’s Thins, which is about 40% thinner than the original cup, in March, 2019.

“They will be available in individually-wrapped pieces in both milk and dark chocolate varieties in our newly redesigned take-home bags,”​ said Buck.

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