Hershey Lowers Sales Outlook, Provided Downbeat Profit Outlook

By Tomi KilgoreMarketWatch Pulse

Hershey Co. cut on Friday its 2015 sales growth outlook, citing lower-than-expected growth in its confectionary business. The chocolate and sugar confectionary products company said it now expects full-year net sales to increase 2.5% to 3.5% over the year-earlier period, compared with a previous forecast of 4.5% to 5.5% growth. Excluding the impact of foreign currency moves, the sales growth outlook was lowered to 4% to 5% from 6% to 7%. Adjusted earnings per share, excluding the one-time charges related to a newly-announced cost cutting program that includes the cutting of about 300 jobs, are expected to be $4.10 to $4.18, below the FactSet consensus of $4.31. The company said the weak confectionary business has impacted its chocolate and Shanghai Golden Monkey business. The stock was down 3% in light premarket trade. It has lost 11% year to date through Thursday, compared with a 3% gain in the S&P 500.

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