US: Coca-Cola is reducing its bottler territory

The Coca-Cola Company has agreed to hand over bottler territory to Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated (CCBCC) as part of a plan to expand its franchises' footprint and to reduce its bottler territory.

CCBCC will assume responsibility for Tennessee territories Morristown and Johnson City from the end of the month, the two companies reported on May 8. The territories are currently controlled by Coca-Cola subsidiary Coca-Cola Refreshments.

CCBCC also said it is continuing talks with Coca-Cola over other territories including Tennesses's Knoxville, Cleveland and Cookeville, Kentucky's  Louisville, Lexington, Paducah and Pikeville, KY and Indiana's Evansville.

In April last year, Coca-Cola announced it had signed agreements with five US bottlers, giving them new, expanded territories. The move is part of an initiative by Coca-Cola to return to a franchise model in North America, as opposed to owning bottlers.