Coca-Cola sales surge as crowds return to music, sports venues

Sales at Coca-Cola surged 16 percent, offsetting rising costs and the beverage maker’s exit from Russia.

Sales at Coca-Cola surged 16 percent during the first quarter as crowds returned to movie theatres, music venues and sports stadiums, offsetting rising input costs for the company and the suspension of operations in Russia.

Coca-Cola was among the companies to pull the plug on Russian operations after the country invaded neighbouring Ukraine. But on Monday, it stuck by earlier revenue growth projections of 7 percent to 8 percent and per-share growth of 5 percent to 6 percent for the year.

The company – based in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States – posted net income of $2.78bn, or 64 cents per share, topping Wall Street’s expectations for per-share earnings by 6 cents, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.

The world’s largest beverage maker posted revenue of $10.49bn in the period, also exceeding industry analyst forecasts of $9.91bn.

Sales of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar increased 14 percent, while sales of its namesake Coca-Cola soft drink rose 6 percent. Overall sales for the sparkling soft drink category climbed 7 percent.

Consumers continued to gravitate to healthier beverages, with sales of nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverages up 12 percent. Sales of hydration, sports, coffee and tea grew 10 percent.

Global unit case volume increased 8 percent, while pricing and mix rose 7 percent. Coca-Cola said accelerated cost pressures and ongoing supply challenges are leading it to look for different and more affordable ways to get its products to consumers. This includes offering single-serve packages.

Coke is getting hit across the board on rising costs for everything from aluminium and sugar to transportation. The company has said the suspension of operations in Russia will trim 4 cents from per-share earnings this year.

Shares of  Coca-Cola Co rose slightly before the opening bell.

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