NEW YORK — Twinkies are making an early comeback at Wal-Mart stores, and they won't be frozen beforehand.
The world's largest retailer says it is selling the snack cakes at about 1,600 stores starting Friday and that about 3,000 of its 4,000 U.S. stores should have them by Sunday morning, a day before Hostess had said the spongy yellow cakes would start hitting shelves nationwide.
By late next week, stores will also have Hostess Mini Muffins and fried Fruit Pies, said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Veronica Marshall. Coffee Cakes, Ho Hos, Orange CupCakes, Suzy Qs and Zingers will be available by August.
Sno-Balls will arrive in the fall.
"We've been working with them now for several months to have them available exclusive early," Marshall said.
The new owners of Hostess have said the company will be freezing Twinkies for about 10 percent of its retailers upon request, which lets stores stamp their own expiration dates on the cakes. Marshall said Wal-Mart isn't one of the retailers that will get frozen Twinkies.
Notably, Hostess has also said 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. Hostess says the changes were made under the previous owners and longer-lasting cakes hit shelves right before the company went out of business.
Hostess went bankrupt late last year after years of management turmoil and a standoff with its second-biggest union. The company sold off its various brands, with Twinkies and other Hostess cakes going to private equity firms Metroupoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management, which are known for fixing up ailing brands them selling them off for a profit.
Marshall declined to say how Hostess cake sales were performing at Wal-Mart stores before the bankruptcy. The retailer also sells Little Debbie cakes, which are made by McKee Foods Corp, and Tastykake, which is made by Flowers Foods. Wal-Mart also sells store brand versions of the cakes.