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%.
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.