Coca-Cola to suspend 200 brands in COVID-19 strategy shift

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Coca-Cola says it will discontinue about 200 brands — half of its overall portfolio — as it reshapes its business strategy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Coca-Cola addressed the plan in a note to investors on Thursday.

The company has been evolving its operations in the COVID-19 era and said the change is an effort to “calibrate” its portfolio “with an optimal set of global, regional and local brands with the strongest potential to grow their consumer bases.”

Coke said ending the brands will lead to staff reductions, mostly voluntary.

“Throughout this year’s crisis, our system has remained focused on its beverages for life strategy,” Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said in a statement. “We are accelerating our transformation that was already underway.”

The company has not specified which brands will be canceled, but Quincey said the “hydration” category that includes Dasani, Powerade, Vitamin Water and Zico will probably see more cuts.

Quincey said the move will help Coca-Cola recover at a quicker pace than the “broader economic recovery.”

“While many challenges still lie ahead, our progress in the quarter gives me confidence we are on the right path,” he said.

Coca-Cola revenues declined by nearly 10% over the third quarter.

The company said last week it will discontinue its Tab diet cola brand, which has been around since 1963.

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