The Hershey Co. said Wednesday it had net income of $154.8 million, or 70 cents a share, in the third quarter, down from $223.7 million, or $1.00 a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to $1.17, ahead of the FactSet consensus of $1.13. Sales edged down to $1.961 billion from $1.962 billion, slightly below the FactSet consensus of $1.981 billion. "U.S. net sales were below expectations due to lower than expected candy, mint and gum (CMG) retail takeaway in the third quarter," Chief Executive John Bilbrey said in a statement. "This softness also impacted broader mainstream snacks, where consumption trends during the quarter were less than the June year-to-date increase." The company is expecting to increase spending on advertising and marketing in the fourth quarter. It expects sales for the full year to be flat versus 2014, and expects adjusted EPS to come in at the low end of its range at about $4.10. Shares were not yet active in premarket trade, but are down 9% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained 0.3%.
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