Longer Season Sweetens Halloween Candy Sales

Pushing the Halloween season ever earlier, candy companies are once again enjoying robust sales.

The National Confectioners Association said sales of chocolate Halloween candy were 14 percent higher during the four-week period ending Sept. 10 than the year-ago period, and non-chocolate candy rose 3 percent.

Tootsie Roll Industries credited back-to-school and Halloween marketing programs for generating a rise of 5 percent in third-quarter earnings. Revenue grew by 7 percent.

Hershey Inc., maker of Hershey's, Reese's and KitKat, also credited "good Halloween sell-in" for a third-quarter profit increase of 61 percent.

Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.'s United States sales grew by 9 percent in the quarter, helped by the performance of Orbit, Orbit White, Lifesavers and the new Doublemint Twins mints.

Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior research analyst at Mintel, said one reason for higher Halloween candy sales is that the "seasons slop into each other."

With back-to-school now starting in early August, marketers hit stores with school supplies, then snacks and then candy, she said. And the season doesn't end on Oct. 31.

"The packaging of [some] candy is very clever," said Mogelonsky. "Think autumnal colors." Candies packaged in red, orange and brown foils, she said, can still be used for Thanksgiving.

The National Retail Federation said consumers will spend $4.96 billion across the board on Halloween-related merchandise this year, up from $3.29 billion a year ago.