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Beverage maker Cott reports lower sales for 1Q

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Cott Corp. fell Wednesday after the beverage maker reported lower first-quarter revenue, citing a loss in market share and a broader decline in the North American soft drink industry.

The Canadian company, which makes private-label drinks for retailers, said its total filled beverage volume was 193 million cases for the quarter, down 5 percent from 203 million cases a year ago.

Cott noted that its exit from a "low-gross margin business" in North America also contributed to the decline. A representative for the company wasn't immediately available to provide details.

Beverage makers including Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. have been struggling to grow their soft drink sales in countries such as the U.S., where people are moving away from sugary drinks. Even though Cott, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo make a variety of other beverages including juice and sports drinks, sodas remain a big part of the market.

Additionally, Cott is facing greater stepped up marketing from PepsiCo, which over the past year has been trying to strengthen flagship brands such as Pepsi.

For the period ended March 30, Cott said it broke even. That's compared with net income of $5.9 million, or 6 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 4 percent to $505.4 million.

Shares of Cott fell $1.52, or 13.9 percent, to $9.43 in late trading Wednesday. They have traded in a 52-week range of $6.45 to $11.25.