Hershey regains “candy king” title

Solid volume growth and new product sales in North America helped The Hershey Company regain its category leadership position in the candy, mint and gum business with a 30.1% market share.

The company synonymous with chocolate said its fourth quarter sales increased 11.7% to nearly $2 billion and that sales in North America slightly exceeded expectations due to a solid holiday season.

Hershey president and CEO John P. Bilbrey said the company gained candy, mint and gum (CMG) market share in every measured channel for the third consecutive year. He also indicated the company’s business was solid internationally where it now enjoys a 10.2% share of China’s chocolate business and in Canada where it is the category leader.

“The progress we’ve made across our business gives us confidence that our strategies are working well and meeting consumer wants and needs,” Bilbrey said. “In 2014, our plans are focused on targeted growth initiatives in key global markets, new product launches in both the U.S. and international geographies and continued support of our core brands.”

One of the biggest developments for the company in 2014 is the integration of the recently acquired Shanghai Golden Monkey company in China.

“This will build on Hershey’s continuing commitment to the China market and will further accelerate the Company’s scale and geographic footprint in that market,” Bilbrey said.

Looking ahead, Hershey expects 2014 sales growth in the range of 5% to 7% with volume driven by core brands as well as new introductions such as York Minis, Hershey’s Spreads, Lancaster Soft Cremes Caramels and Brookside Crunchy Clusters.

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