Coca-Cola’s revenue plunged 28% in the second quarter, though sales had begun to improve last month as lockdowns eased globally.
The pandemic has since gained momentum in parts of the U.S., India and elsewhere in the developing world. Surging infections across the U.S. Sunbelt have forced businesses to close again and potentially delayed a return to activities that fuel half of Coca-Cola’s sales.
Those sales come from stadiums, movie theatres and other places where people gather in large numbers, venues that have blinked out in the pandemic. Major League baseball will begin playing this week, but to empty stadiums with piped in crowd noise.
There were signs of improvement from earlier this year, at least last month. Case volume declines of 25% had been more than cut in half, to 10% in June.
In China, case volumes actually rose for the quarter.
Coke said sales of water and sports drinks dropped 24%, while coffee and tea sales plunged 31% as the company temporarily closed its Costa coffee stores in Europe. Soft drink sales fared better, falling 12% globally. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar sales fell just 4%.
In North America, customers bought more Simply and Minute Maid juices and Fairlife milk, offsetting losses elsewhere. Case volumes in the region fell 16%.
Coke reported net income of US$1.8 billion for the April-June period, down 32% from the same period a year ago. Excluding one-time items, the Atlanta company earned 42 cents per share. That tops Wall Street’s per-share expectations by 2 cents, according to analysts polled by FactSet.
Coke’s revenue fell to $7.2 billion, matching expectations.