Nichols' sales of both carbonates and still drinks continued to grew in the first half of 2010, as profits at the Vimto maker soared by more than a third.

The soft drinks giant said pre-tax profits were up by 39% in the six months to 30 June to £6m. UK soft drink sales were up 19% as total revenues grew to £44.2m.

The group said a successful launch of Cherry Vimto in January had helped drive growth, with sales of the new variant already almost 10% of the traditional flagship brand.

“I’m delighted to report we have continued to increase our market share and have again significantly outperformed the sector,” said chairman John Nichols.

“I’m also pleased our very strong trading in the first half was achieved despite tough comparatives, the prevailing economic uncertainties and an extremely competitive soft drinks sector”.

He added: “The momentum we have built up over the past few years has certainly continued and we anticipate profits at the year end will be significantly ahead of last year.”

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