You have to give SodaStream (SODA) credit: At least it didn't pull punches in its press release warning of remarkably bad results. Rare is it that a company says in plain English that it has "not succeeded in attracting new consumers."
As SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum put it:
"While we were successful over the last few years in establishing a solid base of repeat users in the U.S., we have not succeeded in attracting new consumers to our home carbonation system at the rate we believe should be achieved."
Therein lies the lesson of SodaStream: For many users, it is -- and was -- a novelty. It's fun to use, but in a world that favors convenience, the novelty of buying CO2 cartridges instead of a bottle of soda or carbonated water eventually wears off.
And as is the case with all fad products that sell well, they hit that all-in stage when everybody who was going to buy one has bought one, gifted one or replaced one. That's what Birnbaum means when he concedes, "we have not succeeded in attracting new consumers."
He went on to say:
"The third quarter results are a clear indication that we must alter our course and improve our execution across the board. We have already begun a strategic shift of the SodaStream brand towards health & wellness, primarily in the U.S., where we believe this message will resonate more strongly with consumers. In addition, we are developing a comprehensive growth plan for the Company that will encompass Marketing, Product and Innovation, Distribution, Operations and Organization."
Reality: No matter what SodaStream does, going forward it's unlikely to jumpstart growth -- certainly not to the point of returning the company to its former glory. The only thing this news may jumpstart is renewed rumors of a takeover, which would appear unlikely other than a tuck-in for someone, given that the company's acknowledgement that it's having trouble finding new customers. And that, it would appear, may be a stretch. (Could I couch it anymore? I've been around too long; I've seen too much.)
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