Hershey says mint, gum sales hit as lockdowns restrict social gatherings

The company, the maker of Ice Breakers and Kisses, said its second-quarter performance would also be impacted due to a decline in its food service business

  
Hershey's chocolate bars are shown in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California January 29, 2015. Chocolate maker Hershey Co reported a lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as demand for bakery and meat snacks hurt chocolate sales. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Hershey's chocolate bars are shown in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California January 29, 2015. Chocolate maker Hershey Co reported a lower-than-expected quarterly revenue as demand for bakery and meat snacks hurt chocolate sales. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Mike Blake

Hershey Co said on Wednesday sales of gums and mints have taken a hit as social distancing protocols spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic discouraged people from participating in gatherings.

The company, the maker of Ice Breakers and Kisses, said its second-quarter performance would also be impacted due to a decline in its food service business and stunted candy sales at airports and stores.

"We have also experienced a decrease in retail foot traffic and volatility in consumer shopping and consumption behavior across several areas of our portfolio, which has negatively impacted sales of our portable and on-the-go consumption products," the company said in a filing.

The health crisis triggered a long lockdown, temporarily closing everything from restaurants to malls and forcing consumers to work from home.

Hershey has for long been betting on its nutritious and on-the-go snack portfolio, a hit with health-conscious consumers who would pick up protein bars before heading to work.

The company said it expects many of the changed shopping behaviors since the outbreak of the virus to continue as governments begin a phased reopening of businesses.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli) ((Nivedita.Balu@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 4822/ Twitter: @niveditabalu;))

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