Merchandising: Bubbling Along

The U.S. soft-drink industry is growing fatter on—of all things—diet drinks. With Americans consuming an average of 227 bottles each per year, the soft-drink bottlers have upped their sales 64% in the last five years, to a record $2.3 billion. Sales are expected to rise another 10% this year, and the hottest item in the boost will be the diet drinks, which are expected to go up at least 50% above their 1963 sales of $200 million. More than two dozen diet drinks are fighting for a share of the growing market.

Guilty Plea. This rapid growth has involved the...

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