The Hershey Co. announced initiatives designed to drive continued net sales and earnings growth at a company-sponsored investor conference in New York.
“Our marketplace and financial results over the last few years validate our consumer-driven approach to core brand investment in both U.S. and key international markets,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer in a prepared statement. “We’ll continue to invest in tools and capabilities that will drive core brand growth. We’re excited about the insights we’ll obtain from the additional work currently under way on Hershey’s confectionery demand landscape that is focused on the individual segments of chocolate, non-chocolate candy and refreshment in the U.S. and key international markets. Our Insights Driven Performance initiative – or IDP – has been embraced by retailers who value the solutions-based methods that drive mutual growth for the confectionery category and Hershey. We are creating a knowledge-based company built on intellectual capital and consumer and shopper insights. This collaborative approach has unique features within the confectionery space and differentiates Hershey from its peers.
“Hershey’s leadership team has worked closely with the Board of Directors this year on a comprehensive five-year strategic plan. We have a global organization that we’re equipping with resources and tools to win in the marketplace and will invest and expand our five core brands – Hershey’s, Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers – in a disciplined manner, around the world. We believe the strategies in place support our new long-term targets of organic net sales growth of 5 to 7 percent and adjusted earnings per share-diluted growth of 8 to 10 percent.
“Our organization is energized and believes in the potential and capabilities of our people, brands and processes. In addition, our solid operating cash flow and the strength of our balance sheet enable us to participate in value enhancing strategic acquisitions. While acquisitions are difficult to predict, combined with solid organic growth, we have aspirational goals of reaching $10 billion in net sales by the end of 2017. I’m optimistic and excited about our future. We are focused and know what we need to do to succeed. We have strong plans in place that will enable us to win wherever we compete,” Bilbrey concluded.
The company reaffirms its outlook for full year 2012 net sales growth of about 7 to 9 percent, including the expected impact of foreign currency exchange rates, and full year adjusted earnings per share-diluted growth of 10 to 12 percent.