Coca-Cola Co. profit, sales down in first quarter

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Coca-Cola Co. reported lower earnings and revenue in the first quarter, despite an increase of soda volumes for the U.S. beverage company.

Profit was $1.62bn, or 36 cents per share, compared with $1.75bn, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding some items, earnings were 44 cents per share.

Revenue declined to $10.58bn. Excluding some structural changes, currency-neutral net revenue inched up 2 percent for the quarter.

Analysts forecast per-share earnings of 44 cents and revenue of $10.55bn.

Coke addressed declining trends in soda sales by introducing aggressive marketing efforts while investing in carbonated drinks and launching new products. Trade publication Beverage Digest said in March that the industry had its ninth consecutive yearly volume contraction in 2013 as consumers buy less diet sodas, which beverage companies have relied on to make up for declining sugary soda sales.

The company’s global unit-case soda volumes climbed 2 percent in the first quarter, with volumes in North America staying flat. The company has forecast 3 percent to 4 percent growth in annual soda volume, but industry observers think this goal is unrealistic.

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