Wal-Mart locks early Twinkies sales this weekend

The giant retailer has exclusive rights to sell the snack cakes until Monday, when they return to local convenience stores and supermarkets.

By Jason Notte Jul 12, 2013 2:34PM
Twin pack of Hostess Twinkies (© PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)Fear not, snack-cake lovers, the Twinkie is back. It's just probably not in the last place you left it.

After labor strife closed Hostess plants back in November and put Twinkies on hiatus unitl Pabst owners C. Dean Metropolous and private equity firm Apollo Global Management (APO) bought the rights to them in March, Twinkie fans have been eagerly anticipating the cream-filled cake's return.

That moment comes this weekend, when Twinkies, Hostess Mini Muffins and fried Fruit Pies hit the shelves exclusively at Wal-Mart (WMT).

Yep, that's right. Despite making its bones as a convenience store treat and restructuring its distribution and angering workers just to get its products into more of those grab-and-go shops, Wal-Mart gets first crack at selling the snack cakes at about 1,600 stores starting Friday. About 3,000 of Wal-Mart's 4,000 U.S. stores should have them by Sunday morning, a day before Hostess had said Twinkies would start hitting shelves nationwide.

Also, in a coup for Wal-Mart, the new owners of Hostess have said the giant retailer won't be getting shipments of pre-frozen Twinkies going out to 10% of retailers upon request. That freezing process is supposed to expand Twinkies' freshness date from 45 days -- still an improvement over their original 26-day lifespan of roughly a year ago -- to something interminably longer.

Does this mark a demographic shift for the Twinkie? Are the kids who used to grab a pack and a soda or slush at the local 7-Eleven or Circle K now grown adults grazing for sugar in the wide aisles of Wal-Mart? Has the colorful, creamy sugar rush of youth given way to fluorescent-lit adult resignation?

It's probably too soon to tell. America will get a better look at its snack cake appetite when Hostess distribution expands and the company starts selling Coffee Cakes, Ho Hos, Orange CupCakes, Suzy Qs and Zingers in August. Retailers and consumers alike may reach a less-spongy conclusion about snack-cake culture by the time Sno-Balls hit shelves in the fall.

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all of the ding dongs are in washington d.c 
Jul 13, 2013 1:24AM

WalMart has been selling Twinkies for years..

Along with Cloud Cakes and a WalMart wanna be Twinkie...

But I may stop or drive to a Walmart Sunday A.M.

They better not jack the price, because I'll stick with Cloud Cakes..

And I've already weaned my habit anyway by 50-70%...

That's pretty good, considering having eaten Twinkies for about 65 years.. 

Jul 13, 2013 7:58PM

Little Debie had already taken over the market with similar lower priced products.

A box of Twinkies was almost $5.00 when they stopped making them

Jul 12, 2013 6:11PM
What about Ding Dongs?  For the love of Pete, what about Ding Dongs?
Jul 13, 2013 5:18PM

Twinkies should hit the shelves @ about $1.99 a box of 10...Otherwise they are gouging..


In their own words, they have cut all their expensive labor costs, hiring cheap no union workers..

Cutting wages and benefits harshly, with using some scabs..And a few others that came back.

Changed all their Distribution ways to save big bucks..

And then are freezing them to extend the shelf life...What a joke..

Freezing will change the flavor and only extend tasty shelf life for a few days..

They NEVER had a shelf life that was very good until ex date..They started losing flavor from day one.

20 days at our place, they weren't very good.

Got them at Wal-Mart for years at $2.99, on sale for $2.59 near date.

If they try and push for $3.99-4.99...I will walk on by and get Cloud Cakes in Protest..screw'em.


Jul 14, 2013 3:01PM

I thought someone would have came in and said they bought some at Wally World already..

No takers...This this weekend ??


Yes, the price varies by Region...

Have seen $5 boxes from back East..

$4.00 in the MidWest.

The 3.99 price at WM, was usually marked down early to $2.99,, or clearance at about 2.59. 

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