The Hershey Company has reported sales and earnings for the second quarter ended 2 July of US$1.05bn, an increase of 6.4%, boosted by sales of new products, such as dark chocolates, mints and Kissables and the late Easter.

Net income for the second quarter of 2006 was $98.44m, or $0.41 per share-diluted, compared with $93.22m, or $0.37 per share-diluted, for the comparable period of 2005.

Excluding a pre-tax charge of $2.6m related to business realignment moves, adjusted net income was $0.42 per share.

“Hershey’s second quarter results were encouraging,” said Richard H. Lenny, chairman, president and CEO, “as strong sales growth of 6.4% combined with overall solid cost controls delivered a 13.5% increase in diluted earnings per share from operations. Hershey’s new product innovation, particularly in the areas of dark chocolate, refreshment, and Kissables, was the major contributor to this sales performance. Seasonal shipments also positively impacted sales during the quarter.”

At the end of June Hershy introduced truffle Kisses and is planning to launch a number of new products, including dark chocolate Kissables and cookie and nut variations, later in the year.