Hershey (HSY 0.44%) endured weakening sales during the most intense early days of the coronavirus pandemic. The sweets and snacks company on Thursday revealed that volume performance worsened in April and May but began rebounding late in the quarter.
Overall sales volumes fell 7% in the fiscal second quarter, which led to a 3.5% drop in organic sales. That core metric has now worsened for two consecutive quarters, falling to a 1% decrease in Q1 from a 2% gain through all of 2019.
Nevertheless, Hershey managed to gain market share in its core U.S. geography, especially within the baking niche that includes products like peanut butter, chocolate chips, and cocoa. Adjusted profitability improved, too, thanks to aggressive cost-cutting and higher prices.
CEO Michele Buck and her team didn't venture a specific outlook for the wider 2020 year, and the declines through the first half imply that Hershey might struggle to break into positive territory overall.
But executives said demand improved during the last few weeks of the quarter. That boost has Hershey predicting increased sales and improving profitability in the second half of 2020, "assuming no significant disruption to current consumer trends."