US food giant PepsiCo recorded a rebound in the final quarter after a low point at the start of the pandemic. Just like its rival Coca-Cola, the company is counting on a successful vaccination campaign to fuel its growth in 2021.
The group expects comparable sales - i.e. excluding currency effects, divestments or acquisitions - to increase by about 5 per cent this year. "We assume that vaccination campaigns will accelerate and that the population will gradually start to move again. As a result, by the second half of the year, consumers will pick up some of their pre-pandemic habits," Canadian news site La Presse quotes a statement from CEO Ramon Laguarta.
On the other hand, the chief executive is convinced that some behavioural changes caused by the pandemic will continue. He refers to the increased use of the Internet, working from home and continued demand from consumers for well-known brands.
At the outbreak of the Covid crisis, PepsiCo saw a sharp decline in soft drink sales. The company was able to continue the recovery, that happened during the third quarter, into the fourth quarter. In North America, soft drink sales increased by 9 per cent. But snacks such as Lays Chips and Cheetos breakfast biscuits also did well (+6 per cent), as did Quaker oatmeal (+8 per cent). Revenues also increased in other regions, except in Latin America, where they fell by 5 per cent, mainly due to negative currency effects.
Total group revenues for the three months ending 26 December increased by 8.8 per cent to 22.4 billion dollars (18.5 billion euros). For the entire year, PepsiCo revenues grew 4.8 per cent to 70.4 billion dollars (58 billion euros). Net profit fell slightly to 7.1 billion dollars (5.85 billion euros).