The carbonated soft drink category continues to struggle. Total carbonated soft drinks (CSDs), excluding energy, saw dollar sales decline 2.1% (-1.9% for 12 weeks) in the latest XAOC Nielsen period during the four weeks ending March, 15, 2014 (versus -3.4% in the prior year), Wells Fargo Securities LLC reported.
The dip was driven by equivalent unit pricing declines of 2.3% and equivalent unit volume gains of 0.2%. Downward pressure remains on diet CSDs, with dollar sales down 7.3%. Liquid teas had modest dollar sales growth of 1.1%, while isotonics were up a solid 4.9%. Bottled water dollar sales were up 3.2%, while sparkling water continues to be one of the fastest-growing categories, up 26.2%. Energy drink dollar sales were up a solid 8.3%, led by Monster’s (MNST) strong 16% growth (including Muscle Monster), offset by Red Bull +6.3%.
“Bottom line: Given ongoing pressure on CSDs, we generally remain cautious going into Q1 earnings results,” noted Bonnie Herzog, managing director, Beverage, Tobacco & Convenience Store Research for Wells Fargo Securities LLC.