People love their candy, and they don’t just indulge in them at home during the pandemic. Hershey CEO Michele Buck said.
“We are seeing this unique time when both consumer behavior at home is persisting and behavior outside the home is increasing,” Buck told CNBCs.Close the bell. “
“Consumers participate in seasons, they tell us they do more movie nights at home, they do more s’mores at home [and] At the same time, we are seeing growth in our food service and in our own retail stores that are not home. “
With these two trends in place, Hershey raised its sales forecast for the year from 2% to 4% to 4% to 6%. Earnings should soar between 9% and 12% to $ 6.64 to $ 6.86 per share.
On Thursday, the chocolatier announced that its first quarter net income rose to $ 395.8 million, or $ 1.90 per share, on sales of $ 2.3 billion. Adjusted, earnings per share were $ 1.92.
The company’s stock closed 3.4% on the news at $ 164.22, a market value of nearly $ 34 billion. Since the beginning of the year, Hershey’s shares have gained 8%. On Thursday, the stock hit an intraday high of $ 165.50.
Buck also said it rolled out two price increases for its seasonal candy store and its non-chocolate and grocery store this year. Buck attributed these price increases to higher packaging and freight costs. Last winter Storms in Texas resulted in higher resin prices and limited availability, she said.
Buck added that Hershey had one of the strongest Easter eggs in history as consumers cling to traditions and rituals and boost sales of seasonal items during the pandemic. She expects this upcoming Halloween to follow a similar pattern.
“It was a tough Halloween last year despite the environment, and the first signals we’ve seen from our retail partners this year are that consumers will be interested in a tough Halloween this year,” she said, citing the Development of the vaccine as a factor driving the trend.