Pandemic Hits Coca-Cola Hard

July 22, 2020
The Coca-Cola Co. got slammed by the pandemic for its most recent fiscal quarter.

The Coca-Cola Co. got slammed by the pandemic for its most recent fiscal quarter, with revenue down 28% from last year and earnings down 32%.

The beverage giant is in a highly exposed position in the pandemic, with much of its sales coming from soda fountains in restaurants, theaters and other places that are or have been shut down. Coca-Cola has made up for some of these losses with increased grocery sales, both of its carbonated soft drinks and of products like Fairlife milk and Minute Maid orange juice. However, it’s not as fortunate as main competitor PepsiCo, which saw a surge in sales of its Frito-Lay products that compensated for its loss of fountain sales.

Revenue for the quarter was $7.15 billion, down from $10 billion for the same quarter last year, and earnings were $1.78 billion, down from $2.61 billion last year. But CFO John Murphy sounded an optimistic note with the Wall Street Journal, saying that China, Southeast Asia and Western Europe have done “a pretty good job” managing the pandemic and that the degree of lockdown is easing in the U.S.

Among Coca-Cola’s long-term plans are to pare its portfolio of about 400 brands, many of which are distributed only within a single country. CEO James Quincey said during an analyst call that the company will try to do that without snuffing out any “explorer brands” with growth potential.

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