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On Friday, Hershey Co said that Americans were snacking more, helping the maker of chocolate post quarterly sales that were higher and increase its outlook for profit.
The chocolate maker, which posted a profit for the third quarter that was better than had been expected, pointed to additional spending, despite mixed consumer confidence signals during the season for quarterly earnings and competitions by rivals targeting consumer that are health conscious.
CEO J.P. Bilbrey said a firming in the category can be seen and the company believes people across all levels of income started to spend more confidently than they have done before.
Hershey rejected an approach for a takeover from Mondelez International the maker of Oreo cookies earlier in 2016.
Bilbrey will resign next July. Last summer Hershey promoted Michele Buck to COO and Buck will likely be a top candidate for the CEO position. Ms. Buck on Friday said there has been more competition.
Hershey, which makes Jolly Ranchers as well as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups posted a rise of 46% in profit during the third quarter as its sales increased by 2.2% from the same time last year to end the quarter at $2 billion.
Hershey is now expecting earnings for the full year, adjusted to eliminate special items to be between $4.28 and $4.32 per share, which is higher by four cents than the estimate it released previously.
Shares were up over 7% in trading on Friday.
During the summer, Oreo maker Mondelez made a formal offer, but the board of directors at Hershey wanted a higher price for their company.
This past August, Mondelez announced it would no longer pursue an acquisition which left Hershey to look itself for expansion oversees and in the snake segment.
Over the last few years, Hershey acquired Krave beef jerky, released a line of squeeze pouches and protein bars known as SoFit, while coming out with snacks that mix pretzels, nuts and chocolate in an attempt to broaden the company’s reach.
At the same time, Mars Inc, the maker of M&Ms is merging with Wrigley gum giving it additional advantage with retailers. Mondelez is also bringing its chocolate brand form Europe know as Milka into the U.S. and will come out with an Oreo chocolate bar close to the time Hershey releases it Cookie Layer Crunch.
Profit by Hershey for the quarter was $227.3 million equal to $1.06 per share, in comparison to $154.7 million equal to 70 cents per shares for the same period one year ago.