Coca-Cola's sales declined in the first quarter as it restructured its business, and the world's biggest beverage maker said it would cut 1,200 jobs starting later this year as it deepens its cost-cutting.
The maker of Fanta, Sprite and Smartwater said the job cuts would come from its corporate staff around the world. That would represent about a 22% reduction of its corporate staff of about 5,500, or a 1% reduction in its total workforce of 100,300 employees, according to FactSet.
Coca-Cola Co. said the cuts would help it find another $800 million in annualized savings, in addition to the $3 billion the company previously said it was trimming. Most of those savings are expected to be realized in 2018 and 2019, it said.
The company has also been reshaping its business by selling back its bottling and distribution operations to independent bottlers. That means Coke is becoming more focused on selling concentrates to bottlers and marketing for its brands as its No. 2 executive, James Quincey, prepares to officially take over as CEO next week.
Quincey has said he planned to focus on making Coke a "total beverage company," meaning it would more aggressively seek growth in promising drinks other than soda to better reflect changing tastes. The efforts have included putting more marketing behind options like Smartwater including a carbonated variety of the bottled water.
When excluding the impact of refranchising, a negative impact from foreign currency exchanges and other structural changes, Coke said its revenue was flat.
On a global basis, the Atlanta-based company said total sales volume was flat. That reflected a 1% decline in sodas, and a 3% increase for the category including water, enhanced water and sports drinks. Volume rose 2% in the category including tea and coffee.
In North America, volume rose for Fanta, Sprite and Coke Zero, while Diet Coke continued to decline.
For the first three months of the year, the company earned $1.18 billion. Total revenue was $9.12 billion in the period, topping analyst forecasts for $8.96 billion.