Though it feels like the holiday season just ended, North Pole elves and human Christmas-heads will both tell you that it’s never too early to start planning for next year.

And though we’re still many months from December 25, it sounds like one confectioner whose candy usually plays a big role in the holidays is already gunning for a spot on the naughty list.

Ten months from now, you can expect to pay a bit more for Hershey’s kisses, mini chocolate bars, and other seasonal favorites including chocolate snowmen and Santas. That news comes from no less of an authoritative source than Hershey Co. CEO Michele Buck, who shared the unfortunate news with Bloomberg in the wake of its fourth quarter earnings report. This would mark the first time in seven years that Santa and his various chocolate helpers have gone up in price, and the move to higher prices would affect about 10 percent of total Hershey sales.

Buck didn’t divulge their exact number-crunching or strategic thinking. It sounds like the pandemic’s effect on business probably isn’t the sole basis for their decision. While people naturally bought fewer individual candy bars in 2020 than they normally would. A greater appetite for comforting sweets that can easily be eaten at home helped Hershey’s make it through the year without suffering much in the way of revenue setbacks. In fact, net sales for 2020’s final quarter rose 5.7 percent, beating analyst expectations. So it’s not like Hershey is desperate to bring in added revenue. 
CHICAGO, IL – JULY 16: Hershey’s chocolate bars are offered for sale on July 16, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Hershey Co., the No.1 candy producer in the U.S., is raising the price of its chocolate by 8 percent due to the rising cost of cocoa. This is the company’s fist price increase in three years. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

So why decide to raise prices for holiday-themed chocolates in February? Is the hope that an early announcement will push this out of the news cycle long before Black Friday? Is there some magic ingredient that makes Hershey’s kisses and chocolate Santas more costly to produce? 

We may never get a good answer. But just make sure you’ve got a little extra coin set aside next Christmas to pay for that chocolate. If it has to come out of your gifting budget, so be it. 

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