NEW YORK — Walmart and other retailers are making Twinkies available this weekend, even though Hostess says it asked stores to wait until Monday to start selling the spongy yellow snack cakes.
The world's largest retailer announced Friday that the cakes were available at about 1,600 stores and that about 3,000 of its 4,000 U.S. stores should have them by Sunday morning. That's a day before Hostess has trumpeted in its marketing. Supermarket operator Kroger, which owns Ralphs, Fry's and Food 4 Less, also said the cakes were available in about a quarter of its more than 2,400 stores Friday and that the figure would expand over the weekend.
Hostess said in a statement that it shipped out the products to give retailers the same opportunity to display them Monday.
"Hostess has not, and is not, giving any particular retailer exclusivity or preference to have products first and is making a great effort to fulfill orders equally and timely to everyone," the company said in a statement.
But Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Friday morning that Twinkies would make an "early comeback" at its stores.
"The product was in our distribution centers, and we went out early," said Veronica Marshall, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart Stores.
By late next week, the retailer's stores will also have Hostess Mini Muffins and fried Fruit Pies, Marshall said. Coffee Cakes, Ho Hos, Orange CupCakes, Suzy Qs and Zingers will be available by August.
Sno Balls will arrive in the fall.
Notably, the new owners of Hostess say that Twinkies now have a shelf life of 45 days. That's nearly three weeks longer than the 26 days the previous company had stated for the cakes.