Finanical results

Hershey records profit rise in Q1 as domestic market holds steady

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Michele Buck, Hershey Company president and chief executive officer. Pic: Hershey
Michele Buck, Hershey Company president and chief executive officer. Pic: Hershey

Related tags Hershey Chocolate Confectionery Cocoa financial results

The Hershey company reported an uptick in sales, income, and earnings per share when it announced net sales and earnings for the first quarter ended 31 March, 2024.

Hershey also reaffirmed its 2024 net sales and earnings outlook and said profits were up by over 20% - with operating profits also up over 32%, at over $1 billion.

The company stated that this increase was “driven by sales growth, price realization, productivity, and derivative mark-to-market gains, which more than offset commodity inflation, higher brand investment, business realignment activities, and acquisition and integration-related costs.”

Cocoa price

Analysts at said this likely reflected that companies like Hershey and Mondelez - who reported results earlier this week​ - had recovered mainly from the historically high cocoa prices experienced earlier this year. This, plus Easter chocolate sales, boosted profits compared with Q4 earnings.

"We are off to a strong start and remain on track to deliver our business strategies and financial commitments for the year," said Michele Buck, The Hershey Company president and chief executive officer. 

"Our investments in innovation, marketing, and in-store execution are driving consumer engagement and improving market share performance across segments. We are successfully operating in our new ERP system, a major milestone towards achieving our previously announced agility and efficiency targets.  As we continue to navigate recent volatility in the business, we remain committed to strategies that drive long-term growth and sustainable value creation."

North America Confectionery

The North American confectionery segment reported segment income of $948.2 million in the first quarter of 2024, an increase of 6.8% versus the prior year period. This resulted in a segment margin of 35.0% in the quarter, a decrease of 120 basis points. Segment income gains were driven by higher sales, while margin declines were driven by increased commodity costs, outpacing price realization and productivity.

Hershey confirmed that segment net sales were $2,707.3 million in the first quarter of 2024, an increase of 10.4% versus the same period last year. Growth was driven primarily by accelerated shipments related to the Company's April ERP implementation, which came in ahead of expectations and is expected to reverse in the second quarter. Excluding inventory, sales grew low single digits, in line with expectations, as gains from price realization were offset by conversion related volume declines.

The company’s US candy, mint and gum (CMG) retail takeaway in the multi-outlet plus convenience store channels (MULO+C) increased 1.1% for the 12-week period ended April 14, 2024. This 12-week period includes the full Easter season in both the current and year ago periods, enabling more accurate year-over-year comparisons. Hershey's CMG share declined 10 basis points compared to the prior year. Organic net sales growth outpaced retail takeaway due to accelerated shipments supporting the Company's ERP implementation in early April.

2024 outlook

According to, the company stuck to its initial forecast of 2024 figures, which included disappointingly flat sales figures and a zero increase in earnings.

“This current guidance included 2% to 3% net sales growth for 2024 and a 0% increase to both EPS and adjusted EPS growth.

“This is unlikely to impress investors, but also will likely do no damage to Hershey’s stock price, as this was the previously communicated outlook as well and represents no massive shock to shareholders,” it said.

Hershey First-Quarter 2024 Financial Results Summary

  • Consolidated net sales of $3,252.7 million, an increase of 8.9%.
  • Organic, constant currency net sales increased 8.6%.
  • Reported net income of $797.5 million, or $3.89 per share-diluted, an increase of 36.5%.
  • Adjusted earnings per share-diluted of $3.07, an increase of 3.7%.

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