FILE - This April 24, 2017, photo shows a Coca-Cola delivery van in downtown Pittsburgh. Coca-Cola is reporting strong profit and revenue numbers, thanks in part to rising demand for Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in North America. The Atlanta company on Wednesday, July 25, 2018, posted second-quarter profit of $2.32 billion, or 54 cents per share. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Coca-Cola says diet sodas doing better after revamping

July 25, 2018 - 8:09 am

ATLANTA (AP) — Coca-Cola says its diet sodas are selling better after undergoing some image changes.

The Atlanta company said Wednesday it sold more Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in North America during the second quarter, following a name change to make clearer the drink doesn't contain any sugar. Before, the drink was just called Coke Zero, and the company said not everyone knew what that meant.

Coca-Cola says Diet Coke, which has been struggling for years, is also showing improvement after the cans were revamped to be taller and slimmer, and the drink was offered in different flavors.

The improvement comes as Coca-Cola and rival PepsiCo try to adapt to an increasingly competitive marketplace by relying on a wider array of drinks to grow. But the companies are also still trying to boost sales of their namesake brands. Coca-Cola has also been pushing into sparking, flavored waters with its Dasani brand, following the surging popularity of drinks like La Croix.

In North America, Coca-Cola said sparkling soft drink volume edged up 1 percent on double-digit growth in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar during the second quarter. Water, enhanced water and sports drinks climbed 5 percent, helped by strong growth in Powerade. Juice volume fell, mostly on package downsizing across the portfolio and deprioritizing lower-margin juice drink brands.

For the three months ended June 29, Coca-Cola earned $2.32 billion, or 54 cents per share. A year earlier the Atlanta company earned $1.37 billion, or 32 cents per share.

Coca-Cola got a boost from a $42 million gain related to discontinued operations.

Removing one-time gains or losses, earnings were 61 cents per share. That's a penny better than what analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected.

Total revenue for the quarter slipped to $8.93 billion as the company refranchised bottling operations, but still beat forecasts for $8.54 billion.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on KO at https://www.zacks.com/ap/KO

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