Coca-Cola's sales declined in the first quarter as it restructured its business, and the world's biggest beverage maker said it will cut 1,200 jobs starting later this year as it deepens its cost-cutting. Coca-Cola Co. said the cuts would help it find another $800 million in annualized savings, in addition to the $3 billion the company previously said it is trimming. Most those savings are expected to be realized in 2018 and 2019, it said.
Reshaping its business by selling back its bottling and distribution operations to independent bottlers, Coca-Cola is making the cuts in a comprehensive review and won't be concentrated in any one place, the company said. That means Coke is becoming more focused on selling concentrates to bottlers and marketing for its brands as its No. 2 executive, James Quincey, prepares to officially take over as CEO next week.
Quincey has said he plans to focus on making Coke a "total beverage company," aggressively seeking growth in promising drinks other than soda to better reflect changing tastes. The efforts have included putting more marketing behind options like Smartwater, including a carbonated variety of the bottled water.
On a global basis, the Atlanta-based company said total sales volume was flat. That reflected a 1 percent decline in sodas, and a 3 percent increase for the category including water, enhanced water and sports drinks. Volume rose 2 percent in the category including tea and coffee. In North America, volume rose for Fanta, Sprite and Coke Zero, while Diet Coke continued to decline.