Record fourth-quarter spurs strong fiscal results at Jones Soda

by Eric Schroeder
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SEATTLE — Sparked by its relationship with Panera Bread Co., Starbucks Coffee Co. and Corp., Jones Soda Co. posted strong sales and earnings for fiscal 2005. Net income in the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, totaled $1,283,026, equal to 6c per share on the common stock, down 3% from $1,330,360, or 6c per share, in fiscal 2004. Net sales for the full year grew 22% to $33,511,053.

Although year-over-year income fell slightly, the beverage maker was encouraged by record income and sales that occurred during the fourth quarter. Net income in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 was $580,245, or 3c per share, which compared with $84,546 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004. Sales in the most recent quarter soared 37% to $8,751,376.

During a March 9 conference call with analysts, Peter van Stolk, president and chief executive officer, said Jones Soda continues to be the fastest-growing premium soda in the United States in terms of dollar sales growth, increasing by more than 35% in 2005. The company has been able to accomplish that growth because it commands the highest price per unit for all premium sodas, receiving a price premium of 23% more per bottle than the next nearest national competitor, Mr. van Stolk said.

Another important aspect to the company’s growth has been its partnership with Panera, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and Target. During the year, Jones partnered with Target to offer Jones Soda holiday packs, which feature special sodas created specifically to sell during the different holiday seasons.

"We are very pleased with our year-end results and the start to the new year," Mr. van Stolk said. "As we move forward, there are a number of key growth opportunities we will focus on. Premium soda, we will grow both our direct-store delivery network and our direct-to-retail base. We are committed to expanding our presence in the under penetrated market such as the Northeast and Southeast, and we believe now we have the right infrastructure in place to profitably expand our operations in this channel on a national basis.

"We are going to transform our premium soda into a premium carbonated soft drink, and take advantage of the opportunities in the marketplace created by retailers’ demand for greater profits and the consumers’ demand for innovation in a $65 billion category."

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