Beer Shines, CSDs Show Life, Energy Drinks Slow

C-store beverage-sales results from the first four weeks of spring

NEW YORK -- Carbonated-soft-drink (CSD) sales in convenience stores showed a little--just a little--life in March and April, just as energy-drink sales started get soft, according to the latest beverage research note from analyst Bonnie Herzog. Meanwhile, beer sales had their best month in over a year. convenience store beverage sales data

CSD Rebound

Total CSD dollar sales in the U.S. c-store channel were up 0.6% (and up 0.1% for prior 12 weeks) during the four-week period ending April 12, 2014, the Wells Fargo Securities analyst wrote, citing Nielsen c-store data. The minor bump was driven by average equivalent price growth of 2.9%, offset by equivalent unit volume declines of 2.3%.

  • Coca-Cola's CSD dollar sales were up 2.7% ( and +2.7% for 12 weeks) as a result of a 1.9% decline in equivalent unit volume and a 4.7% increase in average equivalent price. "We are encouraged about Coke's ability to take pricing to drive top-line growth, while continuing to gain volume and value share," Herzog wrote.
  • PepsiCo's CSD dollar sales declined 1.3% during the month (-1.8% for 12 weeks) with 3.2% equivalent unit volume declines and modest 2.0% average equivalent price growth. "Pepsi lost volume and value share this period."
  • Dr Pepper Snapple Group CSD dollar sales were up 0.8% during the period (-0.4% for 12 weeks) as a result of average equivalent price increases of 2.3% offset by equivalent unit volume declines of 1.5%.

"Bottom line, Coca-Cola continues to outperform its peers, with consistent volume and value share gains despite its above industry average pricing growth."

Energy-Drink Slowdown

The energy-drink category, meanwhile, had dollar-sales gains of 8.5%, driven by strong performance by Monster, but offset by weak results in Red Bull, which had soft (for the energy-drink category) 3.5% growth.

Monster had solid 15.4% dollar-sales growth (+14.5% for 12 weeks), driven by overall 14.7% equivalent unit volume gains and +0.7% pricing. Monster continues to gain significant volume (+2.1%) and value (+2.3%) share in the c-store channel, as the core Monster Green continues its sequential improvements, and Muscle Monster contributes substantially to growth.

Despite very strong performance in its core Red Bull and Diet Red Bull offerings, Red Bull had modest 3.5% dollar-sales growth this period, and lost volume and value share in the category. Rockstar had soft 3.5% sales growth as well, while Coca-Cola's energy offerings remain very strong, with 24.2% dollar-sales growth. Monster continues to outperform its peers in this key channel through successful new-product offerings and ongoing strength in its core Monster Green.

Beer Bonanza

Beer dollar sales in the c-store channel were up 2.6% (+1.8% for 12 weeks) driven by equivalent unit declines of 0.2% and pricing growth of 2.8%. This represents one of the best months in over a year despite the Easter holiday shift.

  • AB InBev dollar sales were down 0.2% (-0.9% for 12 weeks) as a result of an average-equivalent price increase of 1.3% and 1.5% equivalent unit volume declines.
  • MillerCoors dollar sales grew 1.9% (+1.1% for 12 weeks) with average pricing growth of 3.7% and average equivalent volume declines of 1.7%.
  • Constellation continued its exceptional sales growth trends of +20.7% (+21.4% for 12 weeks).
  • Heineken dollar sales were up 5.5%.
  • Boston Beer had dollar sales up 20.8%, led by strength in its seasonal offerings.

Beverage Unit Sales in Convenience Stores

All periods ending April 12, 2014

Number of Weeks in Period4 Weeks12 Weeks52 Weeks
TOTALCSD Category-2.3%-2.7%-3.4%
Coca Cola Co.-1.9%-1.9%-1.6%
Dr Pepper Snapple Group-1.5%-1.8%-2.1%
Big Red-1.6%-3.2%-7.3%
National Beverage Corp.1.9%7.2%10.4%
Private label-8.4%-8.0%-4.2%
TOTAL Energy Drinks11.8%10.0%8.2%
Red Bull5.0%4.3%7.4%
Coca-Cola Co.24.5%18.1%13.9%
North American Coffee Partnership14.9%11.3%3.7%
National Beverage Corp.11.4%6.4%3.4%
Dr Pepper Snapple Group-30.4%-33.7%-28.1%
All others-11.7%-13.1%-11.5%
TOTAL Beer Category-0.2%-0.8%-1.7%
Anheuser-Busch In Bev-1.5%-2.0%-2.6%
Constellation Brands17.7%18.5%15.0%
Dean Metropoulos Co.1.8%-1.0%-1.7%
North American Breweries-5.5%-5.6%-6.4%
Boston Beer Co.17.9%24.5%14.5%

Source: Nielsen C-Track Database and Wells Fargo Securities LLC

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