Coca-Cola's sales are starting to recover after a year of pandemic-related lockdowns. But that doesn't mean it's smooth sailing ahead.
The company's net revenues grew 5% to $9 billion in the first quarter, beating Wall Street's expectations. Coca-Cola stock rose nearly 1% on Monday morning.
About half of Coca-Cola's business comes from foodservice, like restaurants and cafeterias. Those businesses were hurting badly during the pandemic, impacting Coke's sales. Last year, net revenues fell 11%.
But as lockdowns ease, things are finally starting to turn around. The company said Monday that in March, volumes returned to those reported in March 2019 as lockdowns eased in some parts of the world.
But, CEO James Quincey said, investors should expect an uneven recovery.
"Many markets haven't yet turned a corner and are still managing through the restrictions," CEO James Quincey said during an analyst call Monday.
In the United States, for example, soda fountain volumes remained negative in March, because while "people are going out to restaurants and there's more mobility, it's not back to what it was," Quincey said. "Reopening is not an on-off switch."