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Neilsen estimates more than $2 billion spent on Halloween candy in the U.S.

BY Allison Cerra

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. The Nielsen Co. has unmasked the truth about Halloween candy.

The global information and media company anticipates that U.S. consumers will spend over $2 billion on candy this Halloween, and that sizes do not matter, but rather, the quantity.

“There’s no doubt about it; when doorbells ring October 31, consumers respond with candy, and lots of it,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president of Consumer and Shopping Insights, Nielsen Consumer Panel Services. “The quantities are big, but the sizes are small. Our review of the Halloween seasons shows that the overwhelming majority of consumers choose to give miniature candy to trick-or-treaters.”

Nielsen also concluded that, out of 52 markets in the United States, the Salt Lake City/ Boise metropolitan area bought 80 percent more candy than expected.

Nielsen did say, however, despite the profits stores make on selling candy (October and April are the biggest candy-selling months), most consumers are more likely to purchase candy only a few days prior to the holiday (Oct. 29 is considered the top-selling day).

Additionally, 97 percent of households purchase candy at least once a year, while 85 percent of candy is purchased in grocery stores.

“For retailers and manufacturers, Halloween is a concentrated selling period for seasonal items,” Hale said. “Consumers [are] putting a strong showing at the cash register.”

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Heinz licenses JDA to enable better response to demand changes

BY Drew Buono

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. H.J. Heinz has licensed JDA Dynamic Demand Response solution from JDA Software Group to further improve visibility by enabling the company to sense and respond to market demand fluctuations.

“We recognize that customers do not always respond in a predictable manner, and Heinz needed to improve its ability to sense and respond to change. We have already received tremendous benefits through the use of JDA Software’s market-leading solutions and this new solution will take us to the next level and beyond in our performance capabilities. The joint development of the Dynamic Demand Response solution with JDA offers significant benefits for Heinz as the product is designed with the key challenges and data in mind which positions us well for continued success,” said Mike Sloboda, director of logistics and planning at Heinz.

Preliminary test results across two key business categories demonstrated a 32 percent and 25 percent decrease in error respectively, over and above the great results that Heinz had received from earlier JDA solutions.

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Hershey announces drop in Q3 profits; points to rising dairy costs

BY Allison Cerra

HERSHEY, Pa. Hershey Co. has a bellyache from the rise of dairy costs.

Known as the largest candy maker in the U.S., the company reported that its third-quarter profit plunged 66 percent and sales unexpectedly fell as it lost its market share.

Net income declined to $62.8 million, or 27 cents per share. Sales dropped 1.2 percent to $1.4 billion. The company, which accounts 11 percent of its sales outside the U.S., had not disclosed the impact the weaker dollar had on earnings.

The candymaker has experienced several setbacks over the past few years. On Oct. 5, the company announced a new chief executive officer would replace Richard H. Lenny by Dec. 1.

During his years at the helm, the company did not recover from its stumble last year while attempting to put more emphasis on what it considered a “fast growing, high-margin segment”: organic and dark chocolates.

In the midst of these impediments, Lenny had sought to expand Hershey’s reach with joint ventures in Asia to keep up with competitors. Additionally, Hershey announced it would close six U.S. and Canadian plants and cut more than 3,000 workers in the two countries, including 900 total at its namesake town, and shift more of its production to contractors and a new plant under construction in Mexico.

Meanwhile, Mars Company, Hershey’s main rival, has trumped the competition by increasing its share of the U.S. candy market through the sale and distribution more varieties of its notable candy, M&Ms, among others.

Hershey increased prices in April for the first time in two years. The price increase had “little impact” on the quarter because it was cancelled out by discounts Hershey had previously promised to retailers, chief financial officer Bert Alfonso said on the financial earnings call.

Hershey shares dropped $1.21 to $43.08 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading Wednesday afternoon.

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