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With stadiums, theaters closed, Coke 2Q revenue plunges 28%

/ 09:23 PM July 21, 2020

In this July 20, 2019, photo a Coca-Cola billboard is shown over the left-field at SunTrust Park during a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. Coca-Cola hits its low point in the second quarter of 2020, with revenue plunging 28%, but says sales are improving as lockdowns ease globally. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

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 United States, 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.

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Those sales come from stadiums, movie theaters, 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% in and been more than cut in half, to 10% in June.

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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 a net income of $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.

Shares rose 2% before the opening bell Tuesday.

In response to global protests over the death of George Floyd, Coke has committed to spending $500 million with Black-owned suppliers in the U.S. over the next five years. It has paused spending on social media for the month of July in response to claims that Facebook is not doing enough to halt hate speech.

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