Hershey Co beat quarterly profit estimates and said it expects sales to accelerate in the months ahead, boosted by strong demand for its cooking chocolate products as people stuck at home due to the pandemic take to baking.
People with more time on their hands due to lockdowns have led to a new wave of amateur bakers and a surge in demand for Hershey's chocolate chips and cocoa powder that are used in making cakes, cookies and other desserts.
Sales trends in recent weeks have led Hershey to expect growth to accelerate in the second half of the year.
However, the company said it was uncertain of the effects a resurgence of COVID-19 cases would have on demand during Halloween, one of the most important periods in the year for candy sales in the United States.
Net sales fell 3.4% to $1.71 billion (€1.48 billion) in the second quarter ended 28 June, hurt by a drop in demand in overseas markets. Analysts were expecting sales of $1.74 billion (€1.50 billion), according to IBES data from Refinitiv data.
Net income attributable to the company fell to $268.9 million (€232.33 million), or $1.29 per share, from $312.8 million (€270.25 million), or $1.48 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.31 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.13 per share.