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Nichols sales boosted by August heatwave

JN Nichols said yesterday that sales of its Vimto and Tizer drinks were held back by wet weather in June but soaring August temperatures have seen business take off again.

The company said sales in August were running at around 15 per cent up on last month. "We've probably sold as much in the first few weeks of August as we did in the whole of last month," said managing director John Nichols.

Purple Ronnie, the cartoon character featured in the group's advertising campaign, was boosting brand recognition, the company said. More than pounds 1m is being put behind Purple Ronnie as part of a pounds 3m total marketing spend this year.

June was poor with the wet weather causing the overall soft drinks market to fall by around 20 per cent compared with the same month last year.

The company is considering a further buy-back of up to 5 per cent of its shares after the 6.5p fall in the share price yesterday to 193.5p. "I think the shares are undervalued," Mr Nichols said. In the past year JN Nichols has repurchased 700,000 shares in five separate transactions between 182p and 222p.

The company yesterday reported interim profits of pounds 4.2m compared with pounds 3.8m the previous year. Sales edged ahead to pounds 36m from pounds 35.3m.