Hershey, PA — The Hershey Co.’s North American net sales grew 2.1 percent during its first quarter of 2020, with the coronavirus having a “modest impact,” while results remained largely in line with expectations, the candymaker reports. Total retail takeaway increased 5.9 percent for the 12-week period ending April 5.
Overall, consolidated net sales were up 1 percent. While sales were up, the company’s “International and Other” segment saw softness, with net sales declining 8.1 percent as segment income dropped off because of COVID-19’s impact on China, according to Hershey.
“We had a solid start to the year with our business performing as expected prior to the impact of COVID-19,” says Michele Buck, president and CEO. “The situation continues to evolve rapidly, and it is difficult to predict the future with much certainty. But we have more than 125 years of experience managing through challenging, fast-moving and unprecedented moments in time. We continue to focus on making the best long-term decisions for all our key stakeholders and believe this resilience will make us stronger in the days and years ahead.”
As making accurate sales forecasts is nearly impossible at this time, Hershey reports it is withdrawing its fiscal 2020 full-year guidance. However, the candymaker reaffirms its long-term financial objectives on net sales growth between 2 percent to 4 percent and notes it has the liquidity to satisfy its cash needs.
“Our best wishes go out to those being affected by this pandemic, and our heartfelt thanks to those working tirelessly to help us persevere through it,” Buck adds. “At Hershey, we have an opportunity to help ensure a steady food supply and create some economic stability for our employees and the farmers, suppliers and partners that rely on us. We take great pride and passion in our ability to make moments of goodness during this time when physical connection is limited. The team has demonstrated relentless energy and dedication to plan and adapt while continuing to operate safely.”