Hershey expects to cut 15 percent of global workforce

Hershey expects to cut its global workforce by about 15 percent, with the reductions coming mostly from hourly employees outside the United States.

The Pennsylvania chocolate maker also trimmed its forecast for long-term sales growth to between 2 percent and 4 percent, down from the previous 3 percent to 5 percent. The company attributed the lowered expectation to changes in U.S. shopping habits and macroeconomic challenges overseas.

CEO Michele Buck will discuss the measures in New York when she meets with analysts Wednesday.

The maker of Hershey chocolate bars and other candies said a smaller workforce is part of its effort to streamline the company and improve its operating profit margin. Hershey is expecting pre-tax charges of up to $425 million over the next three years as a result of the plan, which includes the costs of closing plants and offices and other expenses related to job cuts.

Hershey Co. operates eight factories outside the U.S. As of December, Hershey employed approximately 16,300 full time and 1,680 part-time employees worldwide. A 15 percent workforce reduction would therefore represent about 2,700 employees.

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