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    Energy Drinks Perk Up Beverage Sales

    Lower gas prices and good weather also prompt solid quarter.

    NEW YORK – A re-acceleration of energy drink growth pushed the non-alcoholic beverage segment to a strong third quarter, according to the latest Beverage Buzz survey by Wells Fargo Securities LLC. Sales were up 6.2 percent during the third quarter of 2014, driven mostly by energy drinks, tea and bottled water.

    Monster Energy's sales growth is outpacing the rest of the energy segment, survey respondents said, but Red Bull saw strong improvement over the quarter due to the success of its Summer Edition flavor.

    In the carbonated soft drink segment, The Coca-Cola Co. had a solid quarter in volume and pricing growth thanks to its "Share a Coke" campaign, while PepsiCo Inc. performed well inside convenience stores, particularly with Mountain Dew and Mountain Dew Kickstart.

    Declining gas prices and fair weather were also factors in the beverage category's performance for the quarter, retailers said.

    "Gas prices and foot traffic were the largest positive factors impacting c-store beverage sales, with two-thirds of respondents indicating lower gas prices had a favorable impact on sales relative to last year and nearly three-quarters suggesting foot traffic had improved," wrote Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities.

    Participants in the monthly survey represent more than 15,000 c-store locations across the country.

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