Hershey CEO hails key improvements with first quarter results

The CEO and president of Hershey, Michele Buck, has hailed ‘broad-based growth’ in its first quarter results delivering reported net sales up 12.7% to $2.3 billion for the period, writes Neill Barston.

Notably, net income figures also increased year-on-year to $395.8 million, up by 47.3%, as the business showed strong improvement despite the backdrop of the ongoing covid pandemic.

According to the company, the main drivers of the increased outlook are stronger than anticipated consumer mobility and incremental distribution and merchandising opportunities in North America confection.

Consequently, it added that volume gains, partially offset by higher input costs and incentive compensation, are expected to result in higher earnings per share growth for full-year 2021.

The largest share of its revenues came from the US and Canada, which recorded first quarter sales up 12.8% against the same period last year, to  $2.1 billion.

Furthermore, the company noted volume gains contributed 11.0 points to net sales growth, driven by continued momentum in the take-home chocolate portfolio, strong seasonal performance, and accelerated recovery of non-measured businesses including food service and specialty retail.

As for its international sales, these also yielded an upturn in results, improving by 11.2% to deliver  $214.1 million in sales. However, the business noted that while these markets ‘remained volatile’, first quarter results were ahead of expectations due to stronger than expected consumer mobility.

“We are off to an outstanding start in 2021, with broad-based growth across the portfolio leading to double digit sales and earnings growth in the first quarter and an increased outlook for the full year,” said CEO Michele Buck (above).

“As COVID-19 vaccines roll out across the globe, consumers are optimistic about the future and looking forward to spending more time with their family, friends and community.  As we have seen over our 127- year history, our portfolio of beloved brands plays an important role in these special moments of connection, comfort and happiness.

“We expect continued investments in our brands, capabilities and people along with our agility to respond to and capitalise on marketplace opportunities, to drive sustainable, advantaged performance not only in 2021, but in years to come as well.”

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