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Reese's Peanut Butter Cups arrive in Japan

Date Posted: 2012-08-31

Americans have enjoyed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups since 1923, but until now the only way to get hands on them was to persuade someone on U.S. military bases to help, then carry the tasty morsels home.

Times are changing, and now Seiyu GK, the Japanese arm of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, isselling the chocolate and peanut butter Reese’s under an exclusive one-year distribution agreement with Hershey Co. The products are the same as those sold in the United States, minus a preservative not approved for use in Japan.

Seiyu’s research led the company to conclude it would find peanut butter and chocolate lovers for the candy in the distinctive orange wrapper. “We’ve decided to sell them in Japan because there were customers’ opinions such as ‘being addicted,’” said a Seiyu spokeswoman. Based on the initial response, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are likely to be in Japan to stay. Seiyu’s first-month sales amounted to 1.7 times more than Kit-Kat Mini, the spokeswoman said, which had been the most popular product in the store’s chocolate line-up until the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups arrived.

About 85% of Hershey’s sales are from the U.S. market, but it expects international net sales to rise to about 20% of total sales by 2017. For the moment, the tasty peanut butter cups remain available only on U.S. military bases in Okinawa. There are no Walmart outlets here. Yet.

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