UK soft drinks group AG Barr has reported a 21% increase in third quarter sales, boosted by a strong performance in its core business.

For the three months to the end of October, like for like sales increased by 10.8%, compared to the same period last year, AG Barr said in a trading update today (1 December). 

"The continued strong underlying performance in the core business has been maintained across the third quarter and further growth in the Rubicon brand has ensured we have continued to see good overall year on year performance," the company said.

Total sales for the nine-month period increased by 25%, with like for like sales up by 11.2%.

The Cumbernauld-based company, which owns Irn-Bru, said operating margins remained in line with its view.

"Our balance sheet remains strong and there have been no significant changes in the financial position of the company since the publication of the Interim Accounts for the six months ended 1 August 2009," the company said.

"Current trading remains in line with our expectations. Economic conditions continue to be challenging and the soft drinks sector is highly competitive however, we remain confident of delivering our plans for the full year."

The Scottish drinks maker reported a 27% jump in net sales for its fiscal half-year in September, thanks to growing demand for signature brand Irn-Bru and the contribution of the Rubicon drinks business.