Coca-Cola soon will be competing with Pepsi Cola for sales in the Soviet Union, officials said Wednesday.
Coke initially will be sold only in Beriozka's, special hard-currency stores for foreigners, and will be limited to the capital, said a spokeswoman for the Soviet import agency Soyuz Plodimport.
President Donald R. Keough, in announcing the breakthrough into the Soviet market after a week of meetings with Soviet officials, said the company planned to have Coca-Cola in additional Soviet cities for the peak summer season.
"We are delighted that Coca-Cola will soon be available to a potential new market of 275 million people," he said.
The announcement did not say whether Coke planned to compete on the sidewalk for the large Soviet market, but an American trade official who asked not to be identified said eventually the red-and-white Coke slogan would be elbowing its way onto the streets.
"The selling of Coke in the Soviet Union will not be a problem for us," said Michael Lvov, who is in charge of Pepsi sales in Moscow.
He said Pepsi business in the Soviet Union is brisk, but refused to divulge the "confidential" figures.