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America rediscovers its sweet tooth, as Hershey's sales rise

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US chocolate demand is rising, as candy manufacture The Hershey Compnay reports better than expected sales and profits.

Hershey's lifted its earnings forecast for 2016, after strong demand in the US helped the company beat profit expectations for the latest quarter.

But in China demand is languishing, due to a weaker macroeconomic situation there.

Hershey's forecast it full-year 2016 sales to grow by 1.0%, including 0.5% of natural growth despite less advertising.

As a result, the company forecast its earnings at $4.28 to $4.32 a share, comparted to a previous forecast range of $4.24 to $4.28 a share.

Sales rise

Hershey's consolidated net sales were $2.0035bn in the three months to October 2, up 2.2% year on year. The volume of sales was up 1.0%.

And Hershey's net income rose to $227.4m, helped by lower spending on advertising, up some 51% year on year.

Adjusted earnings were $1.29 a share, beating the average analysts' estimate of $1.18 per share.

Business booms the Americas

In North America, Hershey's net sales were up 1.8% in the July to September period, at $1,764.5m.

Volumes were up 1.1% over the period.

And in Latin America, business is booming.

"Combined third-quarter constant currency net sales in Mexico and Brazil increased nearly 18% driven by solid Hershey's marketplace performance," the company said.

But in China, retail sales were down 4.0%, due to a "challenging macroeconomic and competitive environment".

By William Clarke

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