Hershey Raises Prices, Reaffirms Outlook

HERSHEY, Penn. ( TheStreet) -- Hershey ( HSY) said late Wednesday it will raise wholesale prices on most of its products sold in the U.S.

Hershey said a weighted average price increase of around 9.7% will be added to its instant consumable, multi-pack, packaged candy and grocery lines, effective immediately.

"These changes will help offset part of the significant increases in Hershey's input costs, including raw materials, packaging, fuel, utilities and transportation," the company said."

"Given this timing and some higher than anticipated costs, we do not expect this action to materially impact our financial expectations this year," CEO David J. West said. "We expect the majority of the financial benefit from this pricing action to impact our earnings in 2012."

Hershey shares closed 0.2% lower to $54.69 in Wednesday's session. The stock was up less than 0.1% in after-hours trading.

Hershey reiterated its outlook for 2011 adjusted earnings per share to increase around 6% to 8%, or between a range of $2.70 and $2.75 per share. Net sales are expected to grow near the top end of the company's long-term 3% to 5% goal, to between $5.84 billion and $5.95 billion.

In 2010 Hershey earned an adjusted $2.55 per share on sales of $5.67 billion.

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