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Costco Will Resume Carrying Coca-Cola Products

Coca-Cola products will soon be available again in Costco stores.

A Costco employee pulls shopping charts at a Costco Wholesale store.
Damian Dovarganes
A Costco employee pulls shopping charts at a Costco Wholesale store.

The world's largest soft drink maker said Thursday a pricing dispute with the wholesale club operator has been settled.

Spokesman Scott Williamson said that new Coke products should be sent to Costco stores soon, though he declined to be more specific.

Last month, Costco decided not to order any more products made by the Atlanta-based company until the squabble was resolved. The retailer made the dispute unusually public, posting messages in stores nationwide and online telling shoppers its reasons, saying that it wanted to "pass along the value our members deserve."

A message left at Costco headquarters in Issaquah, Wash., was not immediately returned.

The public squabble between the wholesale-club operator and Coca-Cola revealed real tensions as retailers and product makers square off on prices.

As shoppers continue to look to save money in the recession, retailers want to keep them shopping by giving them low prices.

But product makers like Coca-Cola want to maintain their profits, so they don't want to cut prices.

These types of disputes happen regularly between retailers and product makers, but they're not typically known to the public, said John Sicher, editor of trade publication Beverage Digest.

"Certainly what was unusual was Costco making it as visible as they did on their Web site," he said.

Costco did not remove Coca-Cola products from its shelves, but it did not reorder them during the three-week dispute. Sicher said it was likely that given how quickly soft drink products move off shelves, it's likely that some were out of stock for at least a short time.