Coca-Cola sees more consumer shifts due to inflation as profits jump

Coca-Cola reported a jump in profits Tuesday due in part to price increases but said some consumers are beginning to pull back due to inflation.

The soda giant, which has benefited in recent quarters from the return of pro sports, movie theater sales and other outing-oriented sales as Covid-19 restrictions ebb, again cited this trend as a positive for its results, lifting some of its full-year projections following the better-than-expected results.

Profits rose 14 percent to $2.8 billion on a 10 percent jump in revenues to $11.1 billion.

The company’s unit case volumes rose by four percent, while pricing/mix jumped 12 percent. The “price/mix” category refers not only to retail prices, but also to the mix of goods sold and the geographic and distribution channels.

Compared with the year-ago period, price/mix rose 19 percent in Europe/Middle East/Africa, 15 percent in North America, four percent in Asia Pacific and 12 percent in Latin America.

Chief Executive James Quincey, who has previously described the negative impact on sales due to price hikes as modest compared with historic norms, said the latest batch of results suggested somewhat greater pain among consumers.

“We’re seeing some changes in consumer behavior,” Quincey said on a conference call with analysts.

“It would seem to us that Europe is probably the most obvious example,” with more consumers now buying at discount retailers, a trend seen to a lesser extent in the United States.

“Clearly the impact of inflation running ahead of wages is starting to come through now that the summer is over and back to school has happened,” he said.

Shares rose 0.9 percent to $58.06 in mid-morning trading. (AFP)