Coke revenue misses estimates as soda sales slow

Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:52pm EST
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By Siddharth Cavale

(Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co's (KO.N: Quote) quarterly global sales volumes rose less than the company estimated and fell in North America, but the company said it expects to restore sales momentum in 2014.

Coca-Cola shares fell as much as 4.3 percent - their most in seven months - making the stock the biggest drag on the Dow Jones Industrials index .DJI on Tuesday.

Coca-Cola, like rival PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N: Quote), has been battling declining soda sales in developed markets, especially the United States, as people reach for healthier options.

Both have responded by focusing more on juices, teas, water and other non-carbonated beverages and increasing marketing spending.

Coca-Cola bought a 10 percent stake in Keurig coffee maker Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc GMCR.O earlier this month, and will help develop a cold-beverage dispenser that it hopes will boost at-home consumption of fizzy drinks.

Coca-Cola said on Tuesday that global sales volumes rose 1 percent in the quarter and 2 percent for the full year. Volumes in North America fell 1 percent in the quarter, while those in Europe grew just 1 percent as consumer spending remained subdued.

Chief Executive Muhtar Kent said the company would restore its sales momentum in 2014 by increasing investments in advertising, adding that U.S. sales were expected to improve slightly this year.

The company reported flat net revenue in North America in the fourth quarter.   Continued...

A bottle of Coca-Cola is shown in this photo illustration in Encinitas, California October 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake