Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Have a Coke and a confused looking grin

July 21, 2010

Check out the confused American consumer. COCACOLAENTERPRISES/

Coca-Cola Co actually saw sales volume rise in North America in the second quarter, a rare feat.

Now imagine what would happen if U.S. consumers could actually figure out if they can afford to keep spending the money on a soda, what with high unemployment and the jittery stock market.

The world’s biggest soft-drink company says it has the brands to grow in North America, the ability to spend to support those brands and other factors.

But one quarter of growth is not enough to make the folks in Atlanta jump for joy.

“The consumer is still confused in the United States,” CEO Muhtar Kent said during a conference call with analysts.

“There’s still confusion out there in terms of the consumer spend levels, but we are moving on the right path. That’s the key message here,” he said.

A company that sells a product that costs a dollar and change says the consumer is still too confused for the company to be sure it can keep growing sales volume in the region.

That could be the American economy in a nutshell.

Also in the basket:

Altria raises forecast, shares up

Eyewear, with a bit of Disney and a touch of Apple (NYTimes)

(Reuters photo)

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