HERSHEY, PA. — With the help of higher prices and lower charges, The Hershey Co. posted increases in income in both the fourth quarter and full-year.

For the year ended Dec. 31, the company had income of $435,994,000, equal to $1.97 per share on the common stock, up 40% from $311,405,000, or $1.41 per share, during the previous year. Sales for the year were $5,298,668,000, up 3% from $5,132,768,000 during the previous year.

“During 2009 Hershey made excellent progress in its consumer-driven approach to core brand investment while implementing significant but necessary price increases,” said David J. West, president and chief executive officer. “Our fourth-quarter results represent a solid finish to a year marked by good progress against our key strategic initiatives despite the backdrop of the macroeconomic issues affecting consumers.

Net sales increased 2.2% in the quarter, driven primarily by pricing and improvements in our international business, including an approximate one-point benefit from foreign currency exchange rates. Importantly, base business volume trends, while down due to volume elasticity associated with the U.S. pricing action, sequentially improved in the fourth quarter, net of the previously communicated decisions to close our on-line gifts business and discontinue certain premium chocolate products.”

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the company had net income of $126,779,000, or 57c per share, up 54% from $82,155,000, or 37c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $1,407,336,000, up 2% from $1,377,380,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.