WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) --Halloween may be a celebration of all things spooky, but it's the sweetest time of year for candy companies. The majority of trick-or-treaters will be filling their bags with candy bars made by Hershey (HSY), Mars and Nestle (NESN).
But small candy makers have found ways to get in on the action by building a year-round market for their products. The key is to fill a specialized niche that appeals to a specific sweet-toothed consumer.
Overall, Halloween candy represents more than $2 billion in retail sales, making it a crucial sales period. But the candy industry overall has been holding up well all year.
"Confectionery sales in the U.S. have increased almost 3% in the past year, very normal sales growth for the industry," says Susan Whiteside of the National Confectioners Association. "This is probably because candy and chocolate are the ultimate affordable luxuries, a little piece of happiness for less than a dollar."
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