Coca-Cola sales strong in Russia despite ‘exit’ – media

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The beverage is finding its way into the sanctioned country through parallel imports, RBK reports

Coca-Cola remains one of the top sellers among cola-flavored beverages in Russia, a year after the American company decided to quit the country’s market, business daily RBK reported this week.

The iconic drink was the second-most-popular cola beverage among Russian consumers in January and February, accounting for more than 14% of sales per unit, according to RBK’s calculations based on information from fiscal data operator Prodazhi.rf.

The top seller among cola drinks is the Dobry Cola brand, produced in Russia at factories that belonged to Coca-Cola HBC Russia, the bottler of the original drink. It accounts for just over one-third of the market.

In money terms, imported Coca-Cola ranked first among cola drinks, and topped all sweet carbonated beverages, accounting for 32% of sales, according to data from another fiscal data operator, Evotor.

The unit price of the original Coca-Cola rose by an average of 68% year-on-year in the first two months of this year, reports said.

Russian retailers and fast-food chains procure the original Coca-Cola from other countries via parallel imports, a practice by which a non-counterfeit product is imported without the permission of the intellectual property owner via alternative supply channels. Russia legalized the mechanism to provide the market with goods that Western companies stopped delivering or producing in Russia due to sanctions.

The iconic drink also finds its way to Russia from the Eurasian Customs Union countries such as Kazakhstan, where it is manufactured by Coca-Cola HBC, RBK explained.

Coca-Cola announced plans to suspend business in Russia last March, joining the exodus of Western brands amid Ukraine-related sanctions. The company operated ten factories in Russia, producing soft drinks including Fanta, Sprite and Schweppes, along with local brands.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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