HERSHEY, PA. — Slated for a December debut from The Hershey Co. is Hershey’s Gold, featuring caramelized creme flecked with crunchy, salty bits of peanuts and pretzels. The new product launch follows recent successful innovation from the company’s core brands, said Michele G. Buck, president and chief executive officer.
|Michele Buck, president and c.e.o. of Hershey
“Hershey’s Gold features a rich creme that delivers a buttery sweet flavor and a distinctively new Hershey’s experience,” Ms. Buck said during an Oct. 26 earnings call with investment analysts. “The instant consumable pack type will begin to ship to only a few select customers in Q4, but you’ll see it in stores more broadly in January as merchandising and program will be tied with the Winter Olympics, which begin on Feb. 9.”
The introduction of Hershey’s and Reese’s Popped Snack Mix and Chocolate Dipped Pretzels in the latest quarter helped drive net sales growth.
Net income attributable to the company for the third quarter ended Oct. 1 rose to $273,303,000, equal to $1.32 per share on the common stock, up from $227,403,000, or $1.09 per share, in the same period of the previous year.
Sales for the quarter rose 1.5% to $2,033,121,000 from $2,003,454,000 the previous year.
“Our core chocolate brands, Reese’s, Hershey’s, Kit Kat and Kisses, continue to drive growth, and I’m particularly pleased with their marketplace performance,” Ms. Buck said. “We continue to anticipate strong innovation as a contributor to achieve our long-term net sales growth target of 2% to 4%.”
Specifically, Hershey’s Cookie Layer Crunch bars, which became available nationwide last December, is performing in line with expectations, supported strongly by advertising, Ms. Buck said.
“As we look to 2018, we’ll continue to invest in this product with the launch of Cookie Layer Crunch Triple Chocolate,” she said. “Shipments to select customers begin near the end of the year. Importantly, the Cookie Layer Crunch platform is Hershey’s largest launch in recent history and will receive equal support in year two as it did in year one.”
E-commerce represents another strategic opportunity for Hershey. The company has created a dedicated, cross-functional team responsible for developing solutions for optimizing impulse in on-line shopping, Ms. Buck said.
“We continue to work with key brick-and-mortar retailers related to their click-and-collect and omnichannel initiatives as well as with established e-commerce players,” Ms. Buck said. “As a result, our year-to-date U.S. e-commerce sales are up about 40%... We are collaboratively working with our partners to develop e-commerce-friendly portfolios, digital shelf upgrades and alternative fulfillment solutions.“And in September, we went live with a customer on the first-ever omnichannel Halloween program. Initial results are exceeding expectations, and I’m very excited about the potential for our business in this space.”