Old Coke Outsells New; Worldwide Sales Delayed

Associated Press

Coca-Cola Classic is outselling new Coke in the United States, a spokesman for the No. 1 soft drink company confirmed today.

He added that Coca-Cola Co.'s international rollout of new Coke has been delayed from this fall to next spring. The spokesman, Carlton Curtis, denied that the overseas introduction has been canceled.

Curtis made the disclosures when called at Coca-Cola's Atlanta headquarters by Associated Press in connection with the company's regular quarterly earnings statement, which was released today.

Curtis said he didn't know by how much Classic Coke was outselling new Coke in this country. "We don't have specific numbers," he said.

"We feel it (new Coke) will eventually outsell Classic Coke," Curtis added.

He noted that sales of Classic Coke vs. new Coke vary in different U.S. markets, with Classic Coke strong in the South and Southeast and new Coke strong in the Northeast and West.

Overall, the reverse is true in Canada, where new Coke is outselling Classic Coke two to one, he said. New and Classic Coke also are available in Puerto Rico, but it is too early to tell how the sales there will break down, he said.

Curtis noted that the reason Coca-Cola introduced new Coke in April was to spur sales growth of the Coca-Cola brand. That strategy has been successful, he said.

After much public uproar, the old formula was brought back as Coca-Cola Classic in July.

In its regular quarterly earnings statement, Coca-Cola said its third-quarter net income rose 11.6% over the same period a year ago.

However, the increase came from higher non-operating income and a reduction in the company's effective tax rate, the company said. Operating profit fell 3% in the period because of higher marketing costs, it said.

Coca-Cola cited the costs of national distribution of Coca-Cola Classic and Cherry Coke, plus additional support for other sugared products.

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