At Last, CSDs Record Positive Sales Figures

Coca-Cola LogoIt feels kinda funny to write, but here goes: the carbonated soft drink (CSD) category recorded a positive four-week growth period in sales. It’s the first time that’s happened in more than a year, according to Wells Fargo Securities senior analyst Bonnie Herzog, who earlier today released a report on recent sales data logged by Nielsen.

Total CSD sales increased by 0.7 percent in a four-week period ending on August 2, driven by equivalised unit pricing increases of 1.1 percent and equivalised unit volume declines of 0.4 percent, according to extended all-outlet coverage from Nielsen.

A separate report written by Morgan Stanley Research analyst Dara Mohsenian, who cited all outlet (including gas and convenience stores) data from IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, during the four-week period that ended on August 3, found a similar bump for CSDs. The data showed that CSD sales increased by 1.1 percent year-over-year, up from a 0.1 percent increase in the previous 12 weeks through a 0.7 decline in volume and a 1.8 percent increase in pricing.

Mohsenian notes that while Coca-Cola’s CSD volume was down 0.8 percent, the company faced a 4.6 percent decline in volume during the same period in 2013. Meanwhile, volume of Pepsi-owned CSDs increased by 2.2 percent in the four-week period, compared to an 8.2 percent decline during the same time last year. Volume for Dr Pepper Snapple sodas was mostly flat with a 0.2 percent increase, compared to last year’s 3.3 percent decline during the same time period. Both Mohsenian and Herzog expressed optimism in the category’s latest data.

“We are encouraged by the sequential improvements in CSDs, led largely by [Coke],” Herzog wrote.

Coke outperformed the rest of the CSD category, Herzog noted, with total company sales up 1.1 percent in the four-week period and total CSD sales up 2.5 percent. The Coke brand recorded a 6 percent increase in sales, which Herzog attributes in part to the brand’s recently-launched Share a Coke marketing campaign.

The two reports also include brief summaries on the energy category, which increased by 4.6 percent in the four-week period, up from a 3.5 percent increase in the previous 12 weeks, Mohsenian wrote. Sales of Monster Energy increased by 5.4 percent, below the 5.9 percent increase of the previous 12 weeks and the two-year average of a 7.3 percent increase. Herzog noted that total company sales increased by 12.2 percent in the four-week period, compared to a 14 percent increase from the previous 12 weeks, driven by a 2.8 percent increase in equivalised unit pricing and a 9.1 percent increase in equivalised units. While Monster’s volume sold on promotion declined by 7.1 percent, the company still added 0.7 percent market share.

“We believe as [Monster’s] promotional calendar picks up in [the second half] of 2014, sales growth will accelerate for the balance of [full year] 2014,” Herzog wrote.