2011-04-07 / Local & State

Hershey Raises Candy Prices Nearly 10 Percent

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) – Chocolate is going to cost a little more green.

The Hershey Co. on Wednesday said it raised wholesale prices by 9.7 percent, because its own costs have risen.

The candy maker says the price increase takes effect immediately. It cited higher costs for raw materials, packaging, fuel, utilities and transportation as driving the hike.

Consumers may not see the impact on store shelves right away, however. A Hershey spokesman said many retailers will be able to buy products at the old prices for about eight weeks.

The announcement comes weeks before one of the most popular candy consumption holidays. Americans spend about $2 billion on Easter candy annually.

The company said it expects most of the financial benefit from the increases will be reflected in its 2012 results.

It expects 2011 earnings to be at the top end of its prior forecast of $2.54 to $2.63 per share. Adjusted for various charges, profit should be near the high end of $2.70 to $2.76 per share.

Hershey expects 2011 sales near the top end of its prior range, between $5.84 billion and $5.95 billion.

Analysts, on average, expect adjusted profit of $2.77 per share.Wall Street expects sales of $5.93 billion for the year, on average.

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