Shares of SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) popped 5% higher on Wednesday after posting quarterly results. It didn't stick, and within minutes of Thursday's open it had given all of those gains away.
SodaStream can't seem to catch a break. The wound is largely self-inflicted. Revenue, earnings, and adjusted EBITDA declined since the prior year. Currency fluctuations played a starring role in the declines, but it's ultimately hard to overcome double-digit percentage declines in the number of starter kits and soda flavors sold. Sales were down in each of SodaStream's four territories. That's the third quarter in a row that we've seen that happen, though sales would have risen in its biggest market -- Western Europe -- on a constant currency basis.
The silver lining here is that the declines have started to stabilize. Things aren't as bad as they were three months ago when adjusted revenue plummeted 28% and adjusted earnings fell well short of Wall Street's expectations.
Another bright spot is that SodaStream machines out in the wild aren't collecting dust. There were a record 7 million CO2 refills sold during the quarter, 10% ahead of the prior year. The 22% drop in actual soda makers is a clear sign that SodaStream isn't as popular with potential buyers as it used to be. The 10% slide in flavor units suggest that folks are either using the machine to make unflavored sparkling water or finding non-SodaStream ways to sweeten their beverages.
The slump in flavors isn't a surprise. SodaStream is in the process of positioning its beverage maker as a platform for health and fitness. It may offer all-natural fruit enhancers, but there's a plethora of consumer options if we go that route. The real challenge is finding a way to grow sales of its start kits again.
The U.S. also remains a hot mess. Fewer retailers are selling SodaStream products than a year earlier, and even the gas refills that hit a record on a worldwide basis during the quarter slipped stateside. There are new SodaStream platforms in the works, but they won't hit the market until next year.
Now that Keurig Green Mountain (UNKNOWN:GMCR.DL) has finally rolled out Keurig Kold, it's not as if SodaStream can afford to sit still. SodaStream Ultimate is a platform worth watching since it matches Keurig Kold's ability to make hot and cold beverages. As long as SodaStream doesn't make the same pricing mistake as Keurig Kold -- let's face it, Keurig, the prices for the system and small soda servings aren't going to cut it -- it could have a shot at regaining its former glory.
Investors will have to wait for that to play out in the latter half of next year, and that may be too long for impatient investors. The good news for those standing still is that Western Europe -- accounting for 62% of SodaStream's total sales -- is showing signs of a turnaround. That will do, for now, but a stateside recovery doesn't seem to be in the cards anytime soon.
Rick Munarriz owns shares of Keurig Green Mountain and SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends Keurig Green Mountain. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.