Coca-Cola’s first-quarter profit has fallen nearly eight per cent as the world’s biggest beverage maker faced a stronger dollar and sold less soda.
But the company sold more of its non-carbonated drinks worldwide, and its earnings matched expectations.
The Atlanta-based company says global sales volume rose two per cent. In its flagship North American market, soda volume slipped 1 per cent as the company raised prices.
Coca-Cola, which also makes drinks including Sprite and Powerade, has been under pressure to deliver stronger results, particularly back at home where Americans have been cutting back on soda for years.
The company isn’t alone in its struggles to boost soda sales. PepsiCo, which reports its earnings on Thursday, has seen even steeper declines in its soda business despite stepped-up marketing, including sponsorship of the Super Bowl half-time show.
Both companies sell a wide array of beverages, including sports drinks, bottled water and orange juice. But sodas remain a big part of their businesses, and they’re scrambling to figure out ways to stop the declines.
To boost sales, the company plans slash costs and put the savings into marketing in the year ahead. It also introduced a version of its namesake soda sweetened with a mix of stevia and sugar in Argentina, with plans to eventually introduce the drink elsewhere.
For the quarter ended March 28, net income fell to $US1.62 billion ($A1.73 billion), or 36 US cents per share. That compares with net income of $US1.77 billion, or 39 US cents per share a year ago.
Excluding one-time items, net income totalled 44 US cents per share, matching analyst expectations.
Revenue fell four per cent to $US10.58 billion. Analysts expected $US10.5 billion. Companies like Coca-Cola that do a large portion of their business overseas take a hit to revenue when the dollar is strong, because foreign currencies convert back into fewer dollars.