The Coca-Cola Co. reported a 24% drop in third-quarter profit on flat revenue of $5.7 billion citing weak operating conditions, particularly in North America.
“As we have said, our performance has fallen short of the goals we have set for ourselves,” chairman and CEO Neville Isdell said in a statement. “While we are seeing positive results in some regions, we are not yet fulfilling our potential. We are taking the necessary steps to return our company to its proper growth course.”
In North America both unit volume and profits were impacted by soft retail traffic, poor weather in key regions and higher wholesale and retail pricing compared to last year. Case volume decreased 3% while pricing of some brands increased 6% to the consumer.
The company said that its new reduced calorie cola C2 has achieved positive results in terms of awareness, trial and repeat measures. High pricing when the product sold for 40% above Coke’s core brands hurt early summer sales. The packages now sell for about 20% of the price of core brands.
Isdell said in a presentation to employees that a lack of personal accountability and internal politics have hurt the company, according to news reports.
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the company reported revenue of $16.7 billion compared to $15.9 billion one year ago.