Hershey Announces Price Increase Of Nearly 8 Percent

The Hershey Co. last week announced an increase in wholesale prices across the majority of its U.S., Puerto Rico and export portfolio. A weighted average price increase of nearly 8 percent will impact across the company's instant consumable, multi-pack, packaged candy and grocery lines. These changes will help offset part of the significant increases in Hershey’s input costs, including raw materials, packaging, fuel, utilities and transportation, that the company expects to incur in the future.

“Over the last year key input costs have been volatile and remain at levels that are above historical averages,” said Michele G. Buck, president-North America for The Hershey Co. “Commodity spot prices for ingredients such as cocoa, dairy and nuts have increased meaningfully since the beginning of the year. Given these trends, we expect significant commodity cost increases in 2015. We are a gross-margin-focused company and remain committed to our consumer-centric business model of bringing insights to retailers that will enable us to grow our business and the category. During the transition period we will support our brands with higher levels of investment, including merchandising, programming, advertising and innovation, that will benefit Hershey and the category,” Buck concluded.

Direct buying customers will have an opportunity to purchase transitional amounts of product at price points during the four-week period through Aug. 12.

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Mid-Atlantic Expo Unites Asian American Retailers With Vendors

Last week’s fourth annual Mid-Atlantic C-Store Expo — organized by the Virginia Asian American Store Owners Association and held at the Richmond Raceway Complex — was host to 105 vendors and nearly 3,000 representatives of the region’s convenience stores. In comparison, the inaugural event in 2011 drew just 71 vendors and 300 merchants.

Sanjay Patel, a member of the group’s executive committee, operates more than 30 convenience stores and is president of Chesapeake, Va.-based LAP Groups, a family of retail, hospitality, industrial and service companies. He said many of the store owners and operators at the expo are single-store merchants.

“All of us benefit from membership in the larger organization,” said Mr. Patel. “It gives us buying power so we can compete with the big national chains and it gives the vendors the opportunity to negotiate with the organization rather than trying to deal individually with thousands of independent store owners,” he added.

Patel said his group has negotiated three new deals for its members this year. For example, he said, Amerigas has agreed to offer the organization’s members a discounted wholesale price on its propane tanks. The organization also is in talks with additional vendors for more price cuts, he said.

Michael Davis, vice president of member services for the National Assn. of Convenience Stores, said about 95,000 of some 151,000 convenience stores nationwide are single-store operations.

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NOCO Express Stores Raise More Than $12,000 For United Way

Customers and employees from NOCO Express Stores recently donated a total of $12,213 to support the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and several other United Ways in the region. Throughout the month of May, donations of $1, $3 or $5 were collected at all 35 NOCO Express Stores through a paper t-shirt pin-up campaign.

“This was the first monthlong United Way campaign conducted at our NOCO Express Stores and our customers and associates gave generously,” said Michael Newman, executive vice president. “As a family-owned and locally operated company, we are committed to supporting organizations like the United Way in assisting those in need throughout Western New York.”

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Latest Word in C-Store News...

John Poulakis, who worked for Garber Bros. for over 43 years as a sales executive and also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the New England Convenience Store Association (NECSA), has retired from the full-time convenience store business.

• The Jennifer Creed Golf Tournament, recently hosted by Xtramart, drew 325 total attendees and raised $200,000 for the fund. Throughout the years, Xtramart has raised $2 million for the fund.

• Case Marshall of Pit Stop Convenience Stores, Weedsport, N.Y, was elected to another term as NYACS treasurer. He is a member of the New York Convenience Store Hall of Fame. Mr. Marshall and his family operate not only the 16-unit c-store chain but several other firms, including E&V Energy, Patriot Tank Lines and Pyrus Energy.

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