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Coca-Cola Company shows strength in sales, despite slowing consumer demand

BY Melissa Valliant

ATLANTA Despite a 3 percent sales decline in the soft drinks category this past quarter, Coca-Cola seems to be strongly resisting the slowing consumer demand. Coca-Cola’s chief executive announced yesterday that he was confident the company would overcome the problems of the changing economy and gain market share.

The beverage-manufacturing conglomerate is showing strength because of its international support, as well as its consistent sales of its semi-recent Coke Zero drink. North American sales, which make up 30 percent of Coke’s total revenues, showed a decline of 2 percent in the volumes of cases sold. However, case sales are up 18 percent in India, 17 percent in China and 7 percent in Brazil and Mexico, helping the company’s overall sales volume to increase by 5 percent.  

“There are going to be areas of the world that will be growing less,” said Muhtar Kent, president and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Company. “But despite the volatility, we are in the best consumer business there is, with tremendous resilience if we take the right actions. And we will take the right actions.”

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Spartan names Eidson CEO, moves forward with restructuring plan

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores on Wednesday announced the addition of Dennis Eidson to position of president and chief executive officer, pursuant to the succession plan previously announced Aug. 7. Eidson succeeds former chief executive officer Craig Sturken, who will remain as executive chairman.

“I am extremely pleased to announce this important step in our company’s succession plan,” Sturken said. “Dennis is the right individual to lead our organization forward. He has been instrumental in developing, guiding and executing the business strategies that produced record fiscal 2008 profits and 10 consecutive quarters of double-digit operating earnings growth. He was also the chief architect behind our very successful marketing, merchandising and category management strategies that strengthened our market position and sustained our business performance.

“Our long-standing objective has been to achieve profitable growth through a balanced combination of organic growth supplemented by prudent acquisitions,” Eidson said. “Our recently announced acquisition of VG’s Food and Pharmacy is our third significant retail acquisition of an independent operator in less than three years. We have successfully integrated the first two retail acquisitions, improving the sales and efficiency of these operations, and becoming increasingly adept at the integration process and optimizing value from the acquired operations. In addition, we remain the exit strategy of choice for many of our distribution customers’ retail operations. In the near-term, we will concentrate efforts on integrating our latest acquisition and driving organic growth through our capital investment program.”

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AHD International markets all-natural, healthy coconut products

BY Melissa Valliant

ATLANTA AHD International, a wholesale vitamin food supplement ingredient provider, plans on marketing coconut oil and coconut water, due to its recent partnership with RV Industries.

The coconut oil will target food products, while the coconut water will be mostly used in sports and functional beverages. Both coconut products are 100 percent natural, fat-free, low-calorie, chemical-free and a natural source of vitamin E. Coconut water’s nutritious attributes make it ideal for use in sports drinks; it provides potassium, calcium, Vitamin C and iron, which “naturally restores the body’s electrolytes,” according to the company.

The products do not require refrigeration and can also be used in cosmetic items, such as massage oils and hair products. The coconut line follows AHD International’s recent trend toward healthy products, such as its recent release of heart-healthy chia seeds, cranberry protein powder and high-grade brown seaweed-derived fucoxanthin.

“RV Industries has manufactured and provided our high-quality coconut products ­ shredded, flaked and granulated ­ to the U.S. market for nearly 30 years. Partnering with AHD International to distribute these two new coconut-based ingredients provides our company a great opportunity to reach new markets,” Robert Weschrek, general manager of RV Industries, said.

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