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Hershey Co. misses international sales goals, expects better 2013

By - Last modified: January 31, 2013 at 11:04 AM

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The Hershey Co. said this morning in its earnings conference call that it missed its international sales goals as part of its plan to grow its business outside North America, but is still on track and expects 2013 sales to be better.

Full-year sales outside the U.S. and Canada were 12 percent, shy of expectations of 15 to 20 percent, Hershey President and CEO John P. Bilbrey said. Part of that was the stronger position of the U.S. dollar, he said.

The Dauphin County-based chocolate and candy maker expects better performance on a global scale as this year continues, mainly due to Hershey's ongoing expansion of sales and distribution in markets like China, India, Brazil and Mexico, Bilbrey said.

"We're on a path to achieve $1 billion in sales in (foreign) markets by the end of 2014," he said.

China continues to be one of Hershey's best markets outside North America with fourth quarter sales increases of 20 percent for its core brands there, said Humberto P. Alfonso, the company's executive vice president, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer.

Hershey last year announced a strategy to increase its revenue 54 percent to $10 billion by 2017 through aggressive investment and sales in international markets.

Work toward its global goals, expanded products, cost saving and solid performance in the U.S. and Canada will continue to be important, executives said.

"Our solid position in the U.S. marketplace allows us to invest in foreign markets," Bilbrey said.

Expanding that means Hershey putting a lot of weight to improve its Brookside brand that the company acquired in early 2012.

"Brookside will attract new consumers to the confectionary market by addressing unmet demands," Bilbrey said.

Hershey, based in Derry Township, posted fourth-quarter net income of $149.9 million or about 5.5 percent more than a year ago. Full-year income was $660 million, a 5.1 percent increase from 2011.

Fourth-quarter earnings per diluted share were 66 cents, about 10 cents short of analyst estimates, according to Yahoo Finance.

Hershey trades its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HSY.

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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