Halloween is Hershey's busiest time of the year, making up about 10% of its annual revenue, with sales benefiting for months in advance of the October holiday as retailers place early orders to stock up on Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers and Kit Kat bars.
After two years of pandemic restrictions on trick-or-treating, candy demand during Halloween is expected to have risen sharply this year, with the National Retail Federation expecting sales to have hit a record high of $3.1 billion.
Hershey joins global packaged food makers, including Cadbury chocolate maker Mondelēz International, Kellogg Co and Kraft Heinz Co, in using its brand power and distribution scale to pass on price increases to consumers while seeing little pushback in demand.
Hershey said its overall average selling prices increased by 7.7% in the third quarter while volumes rose 4.1%.
The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup maker's revenue rose 15.6% to $2.73 billion in the third quarter ended 2 October 2022. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $2.62 billion, based on IBES data from Refinitiv.
The company said it now expects full-year 2022 net sales to grow between 14% and 15%, compared to the previous forecast of 12% to 14% growth.
It forecast 2022 adjusted profit per share to grow 14% to 15%, compared with the prior forecast of a 12% to 14% rise.
Commenting on the company's performance The Hershey Company president and chief executive, Michele Buck, said, "Third quarter results came in ahead of our expectations, as our increased brand investments and improved supply chain helped support resilient consumer demand and drove category growth across all business segments.
"Marketplace share and gross margin trends improved versus the second quarter, and we have strong momentum exiting the year. Given our performance to date and visibility into the fourth quarter, we are raising our net sales and earnings outlook for the year."