ATLANTA — Coca-Cola Co. executives will stay alert to a potential recession while continuing to increase prices on its products. A typical recession would hit high-ticket items like cars first, said James Robert B. Quincey, chief executive officer.
“(Consumers) then start saving on the lower-ticket items, and they trade down in categories which have weaker leader brands, and then eventually, it might hit the grocery categories with strong leader brands and the away-from-home,” he said in a July 26 earnings call to discuss second-quarter results. “So we tend to have some lead time going into a normal recession.”
Inflation still more accurately defines the current economic situation. Over the course of the fiscal year Coca-Cola expects commodity price inflation to be a high single-digit percentage based on comparable costs of goods sold, up from a previously expected mid-single-digit percentage.
“This is primarily due to commodity cost increases across our concentrate and finished goods businesses,” said John Murphy, chief financial officer. “Other costs, including wages, transportation, media and operating expenses, are also increasing and adding incremental pressures.”
Coca-Cola will pass through the cost increases, Mr. Quincey said.
“And what that's likely to look like in terms of rate is we'll kind of be at inflation or slightly behind headline inflation as it goes up with the layover of price/mix,” he said.
Coca-Cola expects organic revenue growth of 12% to 13% in the fiscal year, up from a previously expected 7% to 8%.
In the second quarter ended July 1, net income of $1.91 billion, or 44¢ per share on the common stock, was down 28% from $2.64 billion, or 61¢ per share, in the previous year’s second quarter.
Net operating revenues increased 12% to $11.33 billion from $10.13 billion. Organic revenues rose 16% behind 12% growth in price/mix and 4% growth in concentrate sales. Unit case volume increased by 8% with sparkling soft drink volume up 8%, nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverages up 6%, and hydration, sports, coffee and tea up 7%.
“During the second quarter, the operating environment continued to be asynchronous with many moving parts,” Mr. Quincey said. “Some regions continued to experience broad-based macro strength while others are experiencing strong inflationary pressures. Some countries are still recovering from the pandemic while China experienced pandemic-related lockdowns.”
In North America, unit case volume increased 2%, driven by away-from-home channels.
“We gained both volume and value share through the strength of our brands despite navigating a challenging supply chain, including higher labor and freight costs,” Mr. Quincey said of North America. “We continue to drive mix improvement in sparkling soft drinks and more than doubled mini can availability on display. New product innovations, including Coke Starlight, Fanta Dragon Fruit Zero Sugar and Minute Maid Aguas Frescas are showing promising early results.”Coca-Cola over the six months ended July 1 had net income of $4.69 billion, or $1.08 per share on the common stock, which was down 4% from $4.89 billion, or $1.13 per share, Six-month net operating revenues of $21.82 billion were up 14% from $19.15 billion.