New pop star SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA ) brought on the carbonation in its first quarter as a public company.
The company behind the home soda carbonator that's been popping up at several stateside retailers in recent months lived up to the hype. Revenue climbed 52%, to $57.1 million, fueled by a 245% top-line surge on this side of the Atlantic.
This has yet to become the scalable model it will eventually become. Net income, after backing out a one-time IPO-related item, merely matched the 52% revenue uptick to $5.4 million -- or $0.42 a share.
SodaStream sold 449,000 systems during the quarter, well ahead of the 285,000 it moved a year earlier. Owners went through 2.6 million of the refillable CO2 carbonators necessary to turn still water into unflavored seltzer, 24% ahead of the refills that SodaStream sold during last year's third quarter.
Don't let the slower pace of the carbonators relative to the actual systems lead you to believe that usage is slowing. It's a fallacy that burned doubters of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR ) , as year-over-year sales of Keurig brewers outpace K-Cup refills. The cumulative nature of system sales distorts the reality. In the end, the "razor and blades" model is still alive and rocking.
SodaStream's "blades" are open to debate. Anyone can sell flavored soda syrup, though owners may originally flock to the SodaStream brand. It's hard to imagine Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) or PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ) entering into this niche, but even the mighty Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) wasn't beyond entering the instant coffee market as Keurig took off.
SodaStream's stiffest challenge is that its product isn't cheaper than generic soda bottles. However, the eco-friendly and health benefits of homemade pop may be just enough to win over consumers at a time when they're open to paying a premium at Whole Foods (Nasdaq: WFMI ) for more organic consumables.
We'll see how this battle plays itself out, though Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY ) was promoting SodaStream on the front page of last week's circular just as we were heading into the huge holiday selling season. The Israeli-based pop star appears to be pushing all of the right buttons on a stock that has been far more fizzy than flat in its brief spell as a public company.
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