Imperial Tobacco has announced a 4% fall in group volumes for the past six months.

The Lambert & Butler maker said total sales for the period to 31 March were up 3% despite the volume dip to £3.39bn. Profits were also up by just over 3% to £1.46bn.

In the UK, sales were up 12% to £469m despite Imperial estimating the overall duty-paid market was down 2%.

Chief executive Alison Cooper said the company had delivered “a good first-half performance, with strong second-quarter results reflecting the sales momentum we’re generating”.

“I’m pleased with the ongoing success of our key strategic brands, as well as the recent cigarette and fine cut tobacco share progress we’ve made in both the EU and emerging markets,” she said.