News briefs: Sara Lee and soft drink bottles

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sara lee Coffee

This week, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola reportedly review their bottle
sizes within the US, and the beverage division of Sara Lee helps
ensure the company remains on target for full year profit growth.

Bottle focus for drinks giants ​ Beverage rivals Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are both showing bottle in their bids to rejuvenate retail sales of their carbonated beverage brands by moving away from the standard 20-ounce packaging to smaller product sizes, according to news reports. The two companies are beginning new retail tests on alternative sizes such as a reduced price, The Wall Street Journal newspaper has said this week . According to the report, Coca-Cola hopes to test a new 16 ounce-bottle, costing about 99 US cents and a 24-ounce package retailing at about $1.49. PepsiCo, by contrast, is focusing on pushing its brands in both 12- and 16-ounce bottles, alongside its canned beverages. Sara Lee profits in third quarter ​ Sara Lee has posted a 10.5 per cent hike in revenues for the third fiscal quarter to $3.2bn, helped by strong growth within its global beverages segment. The company said that operating profits were up by 61.2 per cent to $242m for the three-month period ending 29 March, with operating margins rising 2.3 percentage points to 7.4 per cent. The performance was perhaps best reflected in its beverage arm, which posted a 22.6 per cent increase in sales for the quarter amounting to $807m. Operating income for the division also rose by $6m to $129m over the same period last year on the back of improved sales volumes and price increases for its brands. Sales volumes per unit rose 6 per cent in the quarter, which the company said was mainly the result of strong sales of its coffee ranges like the Senseo single serve brand, particularly in France, the Netherlands and Belgium. In its other division, the group saw sales for its global bakery brands up by 18.9 per cent for the quarter to $231m, with operating income rising by $3m to $17m over the same period last year. Group chairperson Brenda Barnes said that successful product innovation had allowed the company to maintain growth throughout the fiscal year by increasing sales volumes for many of its brands. "A variety of external market pressures, including volatile commodity prices, continue to affect the industry,"​ she said. "Positively, our business covered the incremental cost of commodities in total."

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