Hershey Reports 20% Jump in Profit

Hershey posts a 20% uptick in first-quarter earnings, a figure bolstered by a price increase and Easter sales.
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Hershey

(HSY) - Get Report

posted a 20% uptick in first-quarter earnings, a figure bolstered by both a price increase and robust Easter sales.

Earnings for the quarter reached $75.9 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with $63.2 million or 28 cents a share in the year prior. Excluding restructuring costs, the company would have earned $86 million, or 38 cents a share, beating analysts' estimates of 34 cents a share.

Hershey says revenue rose 6.5% to nearly $1.24 billion from $1.16 billion a year ago. Higher prices, which were announced in August, and a longer Easter season partially offset unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates and volume declines, the company said in a statement.

The company beefed up its advertising during the quarter, working to regain market share from competitors like

Mars

, which acquired Wrigley in October.

On Wednesday Jim Cramer said he was bullish on Hershey in his

"Mad Money Recap".

The company said in a release that it stands by its forecast of 2% to 3% sales growth in 2009, but expects profits to fall below its long-term objective of 6% to 8% annual growth, as the higher costs for commodities like cocoa and sugar, rising pension costs and weak consumer spending dampens results.

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