Coke profit flat as consumers rein in spend

The Coca-Cola Co. has seen profit rise by less than one percent in the third quarter, reporting a stronger performance in emerging markets.

The world’s largest soft drinks maker saw net operating revenue fall 4% to $8.04bn (£4.88bn) in the three months to 2 October compared to a year earlier.

Internationally, it reported unit case volume growth of 4%, buoyed by its performance in markets such as China where it was up 15% and in India where it rose 37%. However, volume sales fell 4% in North America.

Muhtar Kent, The Coca-Cola Company chairman and CEO, says: “The fundamentals of our business remain strong and our franchise system is delivering results that keep us on track to achieve our long-term growth expectations.

“Although we expect the consumer to continue facing economic uncertainties into 2010 and for consumer sentiment to recover slowly, we believe more than ever that we have the right strategies being executed, the right leadership team in place and have taken the right actions this year to drive continued growth.”

In the UK, its Diet Coke brand has teamed up with New York-based stylist Patricia Field, to design a re-usable bag made entirely out of recycled bottles. It is hoping to attract fashion-conscious, young female consumers.

The bags will be available in selected Boots stores from 22 October and will be given away free to customers purchasing two 500ml bottles of Diet Coke.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo recently announced plans to boost its global ad spend next year, putting more weight behind its Gatorade brand.

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