Coke Expects Case Volume to Grow
ATLANTA (AP) _ Coca-Cola Co. said Wednesday it expects fourth-quarter worldwide case volume growth of 4 percent to 5 percent, with the full year’s growth to be about 4 percent.
The estimates affirm Coke’s lowered forecast after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Case units are expected to grow 2 percent to 3 percent this quarter in North America, the company’s most profitable market, which continues to be among Coke’s weakest performers the past two years.
A case unit is equal to 24 eight-ounce servings.
In an October conference call with analysts, Coke officials said improving North American sales will be one of the company’s highest priorities next year.
In April, Coke lowered its sales targets for 2001 and 2002, saying case sales would increase 5 percent to 6 percent this year. At the time, some analysts said Coke’s revised sales numbers still appeared overly optimistic.
Coke said fourth-quarter growth would be 12 percent to 13 percent in Asia; 1 percent to 2 percent in Latin America; and 8 percent to 9 percent in Africa, its smallest market.
In early trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Coca-Cola shares were up 1.8 percent, or 85 cents a share, at $47.35.
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