Sugar-free and better-for-you products helped soft drinks manufacturer Britvic record a 3.7% increase in branded sales growth to £702.5m for the 52 weeks to 30 September.

The company behind drinks such as J2O, Fruit Shoot and Robinsons, said investing in no added sugar fizzy drinks and eradicating artificial colours from products such as Robinsons had led to growth of 3% in carbonates and 3.9% in stills for the year.

But an "extremely poor" summer and tough 2006 comparatives meant that branded sales for the 24 weeks to 30 September fell 1.5%, with stills down 0.3% and carbonates down 3.1%.

"We have actively grown market share across our key categories, and our brands have performed well, despite the poor summer weather, which presented extremely difficult trading conditions for the soft drinks market," added CEO Paul Moody. He said he was confident profit for the year would meet current market expectations.