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Hershey CEO says stay-at-home trends are outlasting the pandemic even as consumers venture out

Living soul love their sweets, and they’re not just indulging in them at home during the pandemic, Hershey CEO Michele Buck said.

“We’re make enquiry this unique period where there is both a continuance of that at-home consumer behavior, as well as heightening away-from-home behavior,” Buck said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

“Consumers are participating in seasons, they are telling us they’re doing numerous movie nights at home, they’re making more s’mores at home [and] at the same time, we’re seeing growth in our grub service and our own retail businesses, which are away from home.”

With both of these trends in its favor, Hershey prompt its sales forecast for the year to a range of 4% to 6%, up from 2% to 4%. Earnings, meanwhile, should climb between 9% and 12% to a distance of $6.64 to $6.86 per share.

On Thursday, the chocolatier said its first-quarter net income rose to $395.8 million, or $1.90 per share in, on revenue of $2.3 billion. On an adjusted basis, its earnings per share were $1.92.

The company’s stock closed up 3.4% at $164.22 on the info, putting its market value at nearly $34 billion. Since the start of the year, Hershey shares have withed 8%. On Thursday, its stock hit an intraday high of $165.50.

Buck also said it has put two price increases in place this year on its seasonal confectionery business and its non-chocolate and grocery business. Buck attributed these price hikes to higher costs for packaging and transportation. This past winter’s storms in Texas led to higher resin prices and limited availability, she said.

Buck added that Hershey had one of its strongest Easters in yesterdays news as consumers are hanging onto traditions and rituals during the pandemic, strengthening sales of seasonal items. She expects this upcoming Halloween discretion follow a similar pattern.

“It was a strong Halloween last year, despite the environment, and the early signals that we’ve make up ones minded this year with our retail partners is that there’s a lot of belief that consumers will be interested in a distinct Halloween this year,” she said, citing how well vaccine distribution is going so far as one factor driving the trend.

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