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Coca-Cola suffers a huge coffee and tea sales drop in 2020

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Full-year reports to 31 December 2020 show that Coca-Cola lost 5% net revenues ($8.6bn) in the last quarter and an 11% ($33bn) loss for the whole year. 

Coca-Cola’s Global Ventures Group (GVC) — the Costa Coffee brand manager — declared an operating loss of $9m in the last quarter, with operating income of $118m in 2019 for reference. The full-year statistic also shows a significant loss of $123m with $334m last year's income.

According to Coca-Cola's statement, tea & coffee revenues fell 15% during the quarter and 17% over the year. Declines in revenues are caused 'mostly by COVID-19 related restrictions in Costa Coffee outlets, somewhat compensated by the great performance of Costa Express in the UK'.

"Taking into account all the development we assembled in 2020, including accelerating the changes in our company, we are pretty confident that we will return to growth in the next year. The uncertainty about the near-term situation still remains, of course, but we are ready to emerge even stronger from the crisis, guided by our purpose and drinks for life ambitions," emphasized Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey.

Costa Coffee was purchased by Coca-Cola from UK-based Whitbread for £3.9bn ($5.4bn) in 2019 with the intent to build its presence in the global coffee market - a field where one of the largest US beverage companies had been missing. 

The total number of coffee shops Costa Coffee operates is 4,000 outlets in 32 countries, but the vast majority of stores (around 2,700) are located in the native UK market. According to World Coffee Portal's data, in 2020 Costa Coffee opened 56 new outlets in the UK, despite coronavirus-related restrictions. Taking those numbers into account, Costa Coffee retains a 29% share of the total branded coffee chain market in the UK. 

Another business that belongs to Coca-Cola — Costa Coffee’s Express machines — also proven to be capable of adapting to coronavirus pandemic. That was achieved by acquiring US automated coffee business Briggo in October 2020 and enlarging their presence in Romania by starting a partnership with petrol station operator Auchan in February 2021.