NPR logo Costco Won't Restock Coke Due To Pricing Dispute

Economy

Costco Won't Restock Coke Due To Pricing Dispute

Get your Cokes while they last at Costco since the wholesaler refuses to restock the product until it reaches agreement with the beverage giant in a price dispute. Paul Sakuma/AP Photo hide caption

toggle caption
Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Get your Cokes while they last at Costco since the wholesaler refuses to restock the product until it reaches agreement with the beverage giant in a price dispute.

Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

A pricing dispute has Costco refusing to sell Coca Cola which seems almost absurd as Costco declining to sell a six-month supply of anything.

But it's apparently a game of chicken between the two as each company tries to see which will blink first.

Industry analysts expect the fight to fizzle since these kinds of disputes are common in the industry though they usually don't break out into the public like this.

Both sides are just trying to protect what's most important to them. For Coke, it's the need to protect its pricing power at a time when consumers are looking for more deals than ever.

For Costco, it's the need to give those consumers the lowest prices possible, especially when they have to compete with the likes of Wal-Mart.

According to an Associated Press story, Costco isn't removing pallets of Coke from its stores. But it won't be restocking those products until the dispute ends.

More from AP:

Coca-Cola said in a statement late Monday it won't comment on ongoing negotiations but said Costco is an important customer and that it is committed to working with it "in a spirit of fairness."

This dispute is notable given the size and visibility of both companies, said Jim Hertel, managing partner at retail consulting firm Willard Bishop.

"It's not unprecedented, but it doesn't happen every day," Hertel said.