NICHOLS, the Newton-le-Willows maker of Vimto, revealed a 9% surge in second half sales and said profits should be “significantly ahead” of last year and market expectations in a trading update today.
It said its positive trading momentum has continued in its second half with total sales increasing to £108m which, it said, is ahead of the UK soft drinks market and has been achieved against last year’s strong comparatives – an 18% uplift on 2010 – a challenging UK economy and record wet weather.
The firm’s UK market increased in value by 3.2% for the year to December 8, with underlying volume down by 0.6%.
But it said despite this challenging market its UK business has increased sales by 10% against the previous year, with export sales rising by 8%.
And despite inflation increases and bigger levels of promotional activity, Nichols expects “as a minimum” to maintain its operating margins.
The group said: “In summary, 2012 has seen a strong trading performance and we expect group profit and earnings per share to be significantly ahead of last year, and ahead of market expectations.”
Nichols’ full results will be announced on March 7.