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Hershey Helped by New Products, Price Increase

The company said it expects sales to rise 3% or more in the second half of 2003.
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Price increases and new products lifted

Hershey's

(HSY) - Get Report

earnings in the second quarter, and the company said it expects sales to rise 3% or more in the second half of 2003.

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The chocolate maker's profit for the second quarter was $71.5 million, or 54 cents a share, compared with $63.1 million, or 46 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Net sales for the second quarter rose to $849.1 million from $823.5 million in 2002.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson First Call predicted earnings of 52 cents for the quarter.

The results include pretax business realignment charges totaling $4 million, or 2 cents a share, for the second quarter of 2003 and $2.5 million, or 1 cent a share, in the year-ago period.

While the company expects 3% growth for the remainder of the year, executives said on a conference call Thursday that full-year earnings growth should be at the top end of the company's previously stated range of 9% to 11%, excluding charges.

Shares of Hershey trading on the

New York Stock Exchange

were rising 74 cents, or 1%, to $72.54.