Soft-Drink Sales Continue to Slide, Weighing on Coca-Cola Shares

  • PepsiCo, Dr Pepper stocks also decline on weak industry data
  • U.S. soda consumption fell to three-decade low last year

Carbonated soft-drink sales declined in the 12-week period ended June 5 from the year-earlier period, renewing fears that the soda industry is stuck in a slump.

The category’s volumes fell 2.8 percent in the period, according to a note by Pablo Zuanic, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group who cited IRI data. Shares of Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. all fell on Friday in the wake of the report. 

Soda companies are facing challenges on multiple fronts, with consumers shifting away from both sugary drinks and artificially sweetened beverages. Per capita soda consumption in the U.S. tumbled to a three-decade low in 2015, according to data from Beverage Digest, a trade publication. 

Coca-Cola’s stock fell as much as 2.1 percent to $44.38 in New York on Friday, the biggest intraday decline in almost two months. PepsiCo dropped as much as 1.4 percent to $102.40, while Dr Pepper sank as much as 2 percent to $90.56. 

The industry also faces the threat of soda taxes. Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to pass such a measure on Thursday, adding a 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax on both sugar-added and artificially sweetened drinks.

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