Dr Pepper Snapple cuts sales forecast as people sip less soda

Reuters

* Sees 2013 sales to be flat vs prior view of 2 pct rise

* Third quarter earnings/share $0.88 vs est $0.83

* Revenue rises slightly to $1.54 bln vs est $1.56 bln

* Shares flat

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc reported third-quarter revenue that missed analysts' estimatesand cut its full-year revenue outlook for the second time ashealth-conscious customers shun its sodas such as Dr Pepper and7UP.

Sales of sodas in the United States have been falling foryears due to concerns over their role in encouraging obesity anddiabetes.

In response, Dr Pepper Snapple launched low-calorie versionsof its sodas, but many customers are also steering clear of suchofferings due to worries over the use of artificial sweeteners.

"We continue to operate in an extremely challengingenvironment, with significant pressures in the carbonated softdrink category now impacting both regular and diet products,"Chief Executive Larry Young said in a statement.

The contribution from sodas to PepsiCo Inc's NorthAmerica drinks business has dropped to 40 percent from more than50 percent a decade ago.

Coca-Cola-Co sales volume in North America rose inits latest quarter mainly due to its non-sodaofferings.

Dr Pepper Snapple now expects sales to be flat for 2013,down from its previous outlook of a 2 percent increase. InFebruary, it had forecast a 3 percent rise in sales.

The company maintained its full-year profit outlook.

Dr Pepper Snapple's net income rose to $207 million, or$1.01 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $179million, or 84 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, earnings were 88 cents per share. Analystson average were expecting profit of 83 cents per share,according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 0.7 percent to $1.54 billion, but missedmarket estimates of $1.56 billion.

Dr Pepper Snapple's shares were marginally up at $45.62Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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