Nichols, the soft drinks company behind Vimto and Panda, has said trading for the first 17 weeks of 2008 was in line with budget expectations and slightly ahead of the same period last year.

“At this early stage we are pleased with progress year to date and are on track to deliver further growth in the full year,” added non-executive chairman John Nichols.

The company has also appointed Taylor Purkis as group finance director. It has been searching for a finance director since November last year.