Cott Corporation has posted a loss in what the company has described as a "disappointing" third quarter.

The US soft drinks company said today (25 October) that operating profit for the three months to the end of September turned from US$11.9m a year earlier to a $3.8m loss. Sales were also down, by 2.3% to $464.4m. In volume terms, sales inched up 0.7% to 309.9m 8oz.-equivalent cases.

Net loss in the quarter was $5.8m, compared to a net profit in Q3 2006 of $6.6m.

While Cott's international business posted a 14.1% climb in sales, North American revenues fell by 7.7% due to continued softness in the CSD segment, the impact of price increases, higher promotional activity by national brands and delays in the introduction of new products.

For the year to date, operating profit more than halved to $18.1m from $42.6m in 2006, with sales slipping to $1.36bn from $1.37bn. Net income dropped to $3.7m from $12.1m.

"We are disappointed by our performance in the third quarter," said Brent Willis, Cott's CEO. "As a result, we are focusing our efforts in North America on fewer, more impactful initiatives, including our new water strategy, selected new channel and product opportunities, and pricing actions that should further the North American business unit turnaround and reignite growth."