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Coca Cola crisis: Sales plunge by quarter in April as coronavirus crisis hits drinks giant

Since the beginning of April, sales volumes have dropped by around 25 percent, but had been growing by about three percent until the end of February. In the first quarter, revenues had fallen marginally by one percent from a year ago to $ 8.6billion (£7billion). The company had entered the year with plenty of “solid momentum”.

Coca Cola said almost all the recent decline has been in “away-from-home channels”, where the company generates half of its sales.

These include cinemas, stadiums, bars bars and restaurants – which have all been shut across the world through enforced nationwide lockdowns.

Sales had initially been propped up by people stockpiling soft drinks ahead of these possible lockdowns, but they have also been hit hard by the closure of impacted venues.

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Shares in the group had fallen two percent by midday in New York, meaning they have now plummeted by 16 percent so far this year.

Coca Cola chief executive James Quincey told investors during a call on Monday the soft drinks giant had seen a “significant and profound impact” on the business as a result of the coronavirus outbreak that has spread to more than 200 countries.

But despite the recent disappointments, he was keen to reassure investors about the future, insisting the company has “always recovered” from global crises throughout its 128-year history.

Mr Quincey said: “We’ve been through challenging times before as a company, and we believe we’re well positioned to manage through and emerge stronger.”

The Coca Cola chief executive acknowledged is too early to know the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business.

READ MORE: Coronavirus map LIVE: UK death toll surges above 18,000 as 763 die

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