Speaking ahead of a company investor meeting in New York on Monday, Hershey’s president and CEO John Bilbrey said the company’s ‘aspirational goals’ would be driven by a combination of acquisitions and organic growth, with five core brands to become global cornerstones for the firm: Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers. Hershey reported net sales of just over $6bn in 2011.
“While acquisitions are difficult to predict, combined with solid organic growth, we have aspirational goals of reaching $10 billion in net sales by the end of 2017,” Bilbrey said. “…We are focused and know what we need to do to succeed. We have strong plans in place that will enable us to win wherever we compete.”
The company said it intends to announce further initiatives intended to drive sales and earnings growth at its investor conference later today.
In February, the confectionery heavyweight said that it was targeting $1bn in sales from outside the US and Canada by the end of 2014. However, it has also been looking at boosting sales within that market, notably with the acquisition of Canadian chocolate-covered fruit pieces maker Brookside Foods earlier this year.
Bilbrey also reaffirmed Hershey’s outlook for 2012, with full-year net sales expected to increase 7-9%. In 2011, net sales were up 7.2% compared to a year earlier.
"We'll continue to invest in tools and capabilities that will drive core brand growth,” he said. “We're excited about the insights we'll obtain from the additional work currently under way on Hershey's confectionery demand landscape that is focused on the individual segments of chocolate, non-chocolate candy and refreshment in the US and key international markets.”
He added that the company’s ‘knowledge-based’ strategy of focusing on consumer insights helps to differentiate Hershey from other confectionery companies.