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Coca-Cola to retire Tab as it trims its portfolio

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Cans of diet cola Tab brand soft drink produced by the Coca-Cola Company are displayed at a supermarket in the Brooklyn borough of New York, July 26, 2011.

Ramin Talaie | Corbis Historical | Getty Images

Coca-Cola said Friday that Tab, its first diet soda, is among the drinks headed for retirement as it trims its beverage portfolio.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the beverage giant’s transition to focusing on its bigger and more popular brands, like its namesake soda. Coke has also recently announced a restructuring plan that is meant to help it become more efficient and scale new products more quickly. The global pandemic led to a 33% decline in Coke’s second-quarter earnings, but CEO James Quincey, who has led the company since 2017, has said it is trying to emerge from the crisis stronger than before. 

Other drinks that will go out of production by the end of the year include Odwalla products, Zico coconut water, stevia-sweetened Coca-Cola Life and Diet Coke Feisty Cherry. Regional beverages like Northern Neck Ginger Ale and Delaware Punch are also slated to disappear.

“It’s about continuing to follow the consumer and being very intentional in deciding which of our brands are most deserving of our investments and resources, and also taking the tough but important steps to identify those products that are losing relevance and therefore should exit the portfolio,” Cath Coetzer, Coke’s global head of innovation and marketing operations, said in a statement.

Coke first introduced Tab to consumers in 1963, aiming the zero-calorie drink at women. In the 1970s and 1980s, as Americans tried fad diets, the diet soda grew more popular but faded once Diet Coke was introduced in 1982. The company said that Tab has maintained a “small but loyal” number of fans in recent decades.

More than half a century after Tab’s launch, Coke is betting on Diet Coke and Coke Zero Sugar to fulfill consumers’ cravings for sugar-free, low calorie soda.

Coke is expected to report its third-quarter earnings on Thursday. Shares of the company, which has a market value of $216 billion, have fallen 9% so far this year.


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Dodgers World Series championship win attracts 12.6 million viewers

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Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides in safely past Mike Zunino #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays to score a run on a fielders choice hit by Corey Seager (not pictured) during the sixth inning in Game Six of the 2020 MLB World Series at Globe Life Field on October 27, 2020 in Arlington, Texas.

Ronald Martinez | Getty Images

 The Los Angeles Dodgers’ first World Series championship in more than three decades attracted 12.6 viewers on Tuesday night, the most-viewed game of the series. But the ratings were a lot lower than last year’s games, a consistent theme throughout the series.

Game six of the 2020 World Series between the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays peaked at 14.3 million viewers on Fox Sports. The network accumulated the streaming numbers and viewership from other Fox properties, giving it 13.2 million total viewers that night.

By comparison, Game 6 of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals drew 15 million while Game 7 of the series attracted 23 million viewers.

The Dodgers beat the Rays 3-1 in the MLB finale, winning the series 4-2. Shortstop Corey Seager took home World Series Most Valuable Player honors for the Dodgers, who won their first World Series since 1988. It’s the team’s seventh championship overall.

The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the World Series, which was played in Arlington Texas at Globe Life Field, averaging roughly 9.7 million viewers for six games after starting with roughly 9.2 million in the opener. Game Three attracted slightly over 8 million and became the least-watched World Series game ever — or at least since Nielsen began tracking ratings in 1968.

Consumption habits and an overflow in sports telecasts due to the pandemic have assisted the decline of sports viewership and network shows but MLB had no competition on Tuesday with the National Football League between games and the National Basketball Association having already concluded its bubble season.


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Gilead’s revenue rises 17% on sales of coronavirus treatment

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Gilead Sciences reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings on Wednesday as sales of its coronavirus treatment remdesivir touted by President Donald Trump drove revenue up by 17% from last year.

Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir, selling under the brand name Veklury, last week became the first and only treatment granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating Covid-19 patients. The coronavirus treatment generated $873 million in sales during the third quarter, mostly in the U.S., the company said.

Gilead’s total sales were $6.5 billion in the third quarter, up from $5.5 billion a year ago and more than the $6.3 billion analysts expected. The company reported adjusted earnings of $2.11 per share, higher than the $1.90 per share projected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Gilead also cut the top end of its full-year outlook, now expecting revenue between $23 billion and $23.5 billion. It had previously said it expected revenue between $23 billion and $25 billion.

Excluding remdesivir, the company’s total sales increased 2% to $5.6 billion compared with a year earlier. The California-based company said remdesivir’s revenue is “subject to significant volatility and uncertainly” depending on the global health environment.

Gilead said sales in its HIV drug business increased 8% to $4.5 billion during the third quarter. Sales for its HCV franchise fell 31% to $464 million as people in the U.S. and Europe had fewer health screenings due to the pandemic.

The company said in August that it planned to produce more than 2 million treatment courses of remdesivir by the end of the year and anticipated being able to make “several million more” in 2021.

“We’re… now in position to meet global demand because of the work we’ve done since January to ramp up our supply,” CEO Daniel O’Day said during an investor call on Wednesday.

Remdesivir costs $2,340 for a five-day treatment course for people covered by government health programs and other countries’ health-care systems, and $3,120 for U.S. patients with private health coverage.


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