Hershey hopes to return to sales growth in 2016

Hershey hopes to return to sales growth in 2016

Hershey has said it hopes to reverse the declining sales it saw last year through a focus on innovation.

The company saw sales decline 5% in the fourth quarter of 2015, contributing to a 0.5% fall over the year as a whole.

The Reese's maker said today (28 January) it expects sales to rise by "around 2%" in 2016. Excluding unfavourable currency, the group said sales should increase by approximately 3%. 

Hershey plans to improve its sales by expanding confectionery and snack sales. The group said it expects to pick up distribution gains for the Krave jerky business it acquired last year.

The company added it has "many exciting new products" that will bring "news, excitement and variety" to its core US confectionery business. Products in the pipeline include Reese's snack mix and Hershey's snack bites canisters, Cadbury chocolates in a stand-up pouch "targeting the mass premium market", and the introduction of Allan Candy sugar confectionery peg bag items. The group added it has "other yet to be announced new candy and snacking products" that will be rolled out in the year. 

"Our goal is to outpace the category and gain share on an annual basis. We continue to experience a changing US shopper landscape and volatile international markets. To deliver our 2016 objectives, our actions are focused on investing in our core brands and growing our snacks portfolio through actionable consumer insights and and excellent execution," CEO John Bilbrey revealed. 

Hershey set a "long-term" sales growth target range of 3-5%.