PepsiCo’s sales fell for the sixth straight quarter and net profit dropped 24%, reflecting the strong dollar and last year’s deconsolidation of its Venezuelan business.

PepsiCo on Monday reported revenue for the first quarter of  $11.86 billion, down 2.9& from $12.22 billion a year earlier. Net income fell to $931 million from $1.22 billion.

But excluding the unfavorable impact of currency exchange rates and a $373 million impairment charge in PepsiCo’s Chinese beverage joint venture, earnings per share rose to 89 cents from 83 cents in the year-earlier quarter, easily beating Wall Street analysts’ consensus estimate of 81 cents.

Core gross margin rose by 1.3 percentage points to 56.4%, boosted by price hikes and cost cuts, despite higher marketing expenditures.

“Our marketing initiatives and new product launches are generating solid organic top line growth, and our focus on driving greater efficiency throughout our operations contributed significantly to attractive core gross margin expansion,”
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said in a news release. “We are off to a strong start to the year and that gives us added confidence in achieving our financial objectives for 2016.”

The company maintained its forecast that organic revenue will increase 4% in 2016 and adjusted earnings per share will rise to $4.66 from $4.57 in 2015.

“In particular, we saw strong performance in the U.S. as well as our everyday nutrition portfolio,” CFO Hugh Johnston said.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, PepsiCo increasingly is relying on still beverages like Aquafina bottled water, Tropicana juices and a ready-to-drink coffee partnership with Starbucks for growth in North America amid falling soda consumption.

Operating profit at the North American beverage unit rose 7% as volume and revenue rose 1% and 2%, respectively.

The company generated 44% of its revenue outside the U.S. last year, making it sensitive to overseas demand. Sales in Latin America fell 26.3% to $1.04 billion in the first quarter.

“Our developing and emerging markets business was up 7% which is a good solid number by any metric that you would use,” Johnston said. “But we’re cautious on outside the U.S. because the world is such a volatile place.”

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