After reporting better-than-quarterly expected results, Hershey Co. raised its annual sales and profit estimates on Thursday, driven by expectations of high demand for its chocolates and sweets during the “biggest ever” Halloween season.
After the epidemic halted trick-or-treating gatherings last year, demand for the company’s products such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and KitKat chocolates increased around the October holiday.
“As we head into the final days of Halloween, sales and sell through are both looking strong… We expect this strength to flow into the holiday season as more family gatherings occur this year,” Chief Executive Officer Michele Buck said.
According to the firm, early and mid-season category sales increased 18 percent over last year and 12 percent over 2019, with trick-or-treat participation likely to return to pre-pandemic levels.
According to a National Retail Federation poll, consumer spending on Halloween-related products will hit an all-time high of $10.14 billion this year, up from $8.05 billion in 2020.
Hershey, like other packaged food companies, has raised prices in recent months to offset increased raw material and freight costs caused by the pandemic’s worldwide supply chain disruptions.
The chocolate company predicted that increased customer demand would balance the additional expenses.
Hershey expects net sales to increase by 8% to 9% in 2021, compared to a range of 6% to 8% previously.
It also anticipates adjusted earnings per share to range from $6.98 to $7.11, up from the previous forecast of $6.79 to $6.92.
According to Refinitiv IBES statistics, net sales increased 6.3 percent to $2.34 billion in the third quarter, compared to projections of $2.33 billion.
Hershey made $2.10 per share on an adjusted basis, topping analyst expectations of $2.00.
(Adapted from USNews.com)