“With retail gas prices rising, we believe in-store sales were negatively impacted across all categories,” says Wells Fargo spokesperson.
Total carbonated soft drink (CSD) excluding energy drinks, dollar sales in the U.S. convenience store channel were down -1.4% (+1.5% for prior 12-weeks) during the four-week period ending March 14, 2015, reported Wells Fargo Securities quoting Nielsen data.
The dip was driven by average equal price growth of +3.4%, offset by equal unit volume declines of -4.7%.
Coca Cola’s CSD dollar sales were up +1.4% for the same four-week period (+3.5% for 12-weeks) as a result of +4.1% average equal price increase, partially offset by—2.5% decline in equal unit volume.
“With retail gas prices rising, we believe in-store sales were negatively impacted across all categories. However, we remain highly encouraged by Coca-Cola’s ability to outpace its peers in both pricing and unit growth and continue to gain share in CSDs,” said Bonnie Herzog, managing director, beverage, tobacco and convenience research for Wells Fargo.
Meanwhile, the energy category had relatively soft dollar sales growth of +5.6%, driven largely by weakness from MNST, which generated very soft +2.1% dollar sales growth for the same four-seek period (+9.3% for 12-weeks), driven by overall +2.3% equal unit volume growth and -0.2% average equal pricing growth.
“While its results were relatively strong the last three periods, this represents the softest growth Monster has seen in this channel which led to Monster losing both dollar and unit share this period, which we find somewhat concerning. We believe this could be at least partially attributable to short-lived disruptions related to the transition in distribution from A-B to Coca-Cola as well as lapping a tough comp,” said Herzog. “We believe the energy category was one of the largest beneficiaries of the drop in gas prices at the pump earlier this year. However, we believe rising gas prices together with the transition in Monster’s distribution nearly complete weighed on Monster results this period,” she added.
Beer category growth also slowed, although crafts and imports remain strong, Wells Fargo noted. Beer dollar sales in the U.S. c-store channel were down -1.2% (+2.1% for 12-weeks) driven by equal unit declines of -3.2% and pricing growth of +2.0%.
Salty snacks category dollar sales increased +1.8% during the recent four-week period (+6.0% for 12-weeks), with +0.7% unit growth and +1.0% pricing.