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    Hershey Raises Wholesale Prices 13 Percent

    The company's king-size, standard, six-pack and vending lines are effective immediately.

    HERSHEY, Pa. -- The Hershey Co. increased its wholesale prices by an average 13 percent on approximately one-third of its domestic confectionery line, including its standard bar, king-size bar, six-pack and vending lines, according to a company statement.

    The increase, which is effective immediately, makes up a 3 percent price increase over Hershey's entire domestic product line and will help offset the company's increased input costs, including raw materials, fuel, utilities and transportation, the company stated.

    In addition, existing customers can order and receive up to eight weeks of inventory of the affected items at current prices, based on historic order patterns, for the four weeks ending Feb. 24, 2008, the company stated.

    For NOCO Express, operator of 30 convenience stores headquartered in Tonawanda, N.Y., the change will see an increase of 5 cents per regular size bar and 9 cents per king size, according to category manager Terry Messmer.

    "It's going to affect us more on the king-size end of it," he told CSNews Online, adding that the last time the candy company raised its prices, the chain did not raise its retail price. "We'll stay at a fairly reasonable price for the regular size. The competition will charge a dollar for the regular size bar."

    Messmer added that he may start looking to promote theater boxes, as their prices remain low.

    Last week, CSNews Online reported that the company's fourth-quarter profit plunged 65 percent, while it forecasted an unexpected drop in 2008 earnings. Net income fall to $54.3 million from $153.6 million for the quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2007. Meanwhile, inventory levels at key distributors declined in the fourth quarter.

    As a result, the company will look to increase performance through advertising, quality merchandising, enhanced retail coverage and new chocolate products within the premium and trade-up segments, chief executive David West stated during an earnings conference call cited by CSNews Online last week.

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