Sweet Christmas supplies still delayed for Hershey

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Sweet Christmas supplies still delayed for Hershey

Candy company has had trouble getting new distribution system online.


HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- The computer problems that haunted Hershey Foods Corp.'s Halloween may continue to trouble the nation's biggest candymaker through Christmas, forcing at least one leading retailer to stock fewer Hershey candies for the holidays.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday it will fill the gap with candies from rivals like Mars Inc. and Nestle U.S.A. during the holiday. Wal-Mart accounted for 14 percent of Hershey's $4.4 billion in sales during 1998, according to Hoover's Online, an Internet service that provides business profiles.

"We will not have any problem with product on the shelves, but we are having to fill in with other vendors," Jessica Moser, spokeswoman for the 2,450-store chain, told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg.

Retailers did the same thing during the Halloween season after delays in the candymaker's distribution chain prevented Hershey from filling many orders. Hershey has struggled to overcome problems that began in July when it installed a $112 million automation system meant to modernize the ordering and distribution process as well as avoid year 2000 computer problems.

Candy manufacturers begin shipping for the back-to-school and Halloween seasons in mid-summer.

The privately held Mars provided no financial details, but did say it performed better than expected for Halloween. Mars -- maker of M&Ms, Snickers and Milky Way -- has begun sending Christmas orders to retailers.

"Those orders are coming in at a good pace and we're certainly happy with them," said Marlene Machut, manager of external affairs at Mars. "But we haven't seen a major increase." Nestle said its Christmas orders have increased, although not necessarily because of Hershey's problems.

"We're looking good for Christmas, but we believe it's because we introduced new products," said Tricia Bowles, spokeswoman at Nestle U.S.A. "We haven't changed our strategy."

Hershey, whose product line includes Reese's Pieces, Hershey's Kisses and the Hershey's chocolate bar, declined Wednesday to discuss the impact that the computer troubles are having on Christmas sales. The company plans to introduce a new product, York Peppermint Patty Bites, in December.

"The consumers should find plenty of Hershey's candies for the holidays," said company spokesman John Long.

Hershey reported in September that its turnaround time for filling orders had lengthened from the usual five days to 12 days. Some orders were incomplete when shipped.

The problems cost the company $120 million in lost sales and increased distribution and warehousing costs. Hershey reported a 19-percent drop in third-quarter net earnings.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), November 12, 1999


Oh no! NOT my chocolate!

A collector's item?

*Big Sigh*



-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), November 12, 1999.

Still not fixed in 1, 2, 3 hours? Or 1, 2, 3 days? Or 1, 2, 3 weeks? Or 1, 2, 3 months?

How can zis be? And under optimal circumstances, with everything up, any and all resources obtainable?

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), November 12, 1999.

Hmmmmm. We have falling sales, falling earnings, falling shelf space, falling stock price. But, no falling dominoes.

I guess dominoes must cost more than $120 million each. :-)


-- Jerry B (skeptic76@erols.com), November 12, 1999.

Note to self: PLANT COCOA BEANS.

Must have chocolate, must have chocolate, must have chocolate...

-- Sara Nealy (keithn@aloha.net), November 12, 1999.

Unfortunately Sara unless you live really close to the equator, they will not grow (bummer).

watchin' the boy eat a chocolate bar...

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert Dog@-sand.com), November 12, 1999.

Last week in my city which is 3.5 hours from Hershey PA, I went to the local supermarket chain. No Hershey's cocoa. Haven't checked other supermarkets because I bought Nestle instead.

-- nothere nothere (notherethere@hotmail.com), November 12, 1999.

After December wonder what the Kugerand - Hershey Kisses exchange rate will be?


-- squid (Itsdark@down.here), November 12, 1999.


...It said there have been problems this year with installations of its software at Hershey Foods Corp. (NYSE:HSY - news)...

See thread...

Computer Install problems at Waste Management and Allied Waste as well
SAP plans closer watch on customers-WSJ

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id= 001kxv

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), November 13, 1999.

I purchased some red, green and silver foil Kisses today...two bags full. Are these last year's kisses?...not that it really matters..grin


-- beej (beej@ppbbs.com), November 13, 1999.

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