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Warren Buffett on See's Candies: "A Wonderful Brand that Doesn’t Travel." | Berkshire Hathaway 2023



It’s been a long time since we’ve heard about See’s Candy and NetJets. Could you please give us an update on See’s performance, and when you project it will run out of places to open stores in the United States?


Well, with See’s it hasn’t been a question of opening stores. We found out that we have this wonderful brand that doesn’t travel. You know? The mystique, the actual product, the feelings people have about some things, as we said before, I mean, it sometimes it’s limited to given markets.

Dr. Pepper sells at a huge rate in Dallas-Fort Worth, and maybe at 10 times the percentage per capita, maybe that it has in Detroit, or Boston. And you say, “Well, how can that be with a product that’s been around for a century?” And people travel. You have national advertising.

And I’m not sure. But I keep learning more, as I watch different brands. And Charlie and I, our economics were so good in California, that we tried in many cases the same experiment over and over again. It doesn’t cost much to experiment. And we’ve tried everything in the world to cause a brand to travel.

And we always think we were right for the first week. And then we find out that the magic — we can beat any other candy store, pretty much. But there aren’t any candy stores anymore to speak of, as the world has changed. So, See’s is 101 years now. It has magic.

And it has limited magic in sort of the adjacent West. It’s gravitational, almost. And then you get to the East. And incidentally, in the East, people prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate. In the West, people prefer milk chocolate to dark. In the East, you can sell miniatures, and dark — in the West —

I mean, there’s all kinds of crazy things in the world that consumers do. But you want to keep observing it, because you do learn a little. And with Charlie and I, the temptation to keep trying things, because the economics were so good if we succeeded, so we tried various things. And, of course, every manager wants to try that comes along.

Because they’ve learned that it should work. But it doesn’t work. So, but that’s what makes it very interesting.


~ Please visit the site above for full video of Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.


[YAPSS Takeaway]

"There’s all kinds of crazy things in the world that consumers do. But you want to keep observing it, because you do learn a little." ~Warren Buffett

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