Dr Pepper Snapple Group has posted a lift in sales and profits for its first quarter since separating from Cadbury Schweppes.

The North American soft drinks company, which was spun-off by Cadbury Schweppes in May, said today (5 June) that operating income for the three months to the end of March rose to US$186m from $162m a year earlier, on the back of improved sales, up $1.31bn from $1.27bn.

Net profit also performed well, increasing to $95m from $69m.

The healthy performance came despite sliding volumes for many of the company's brands in the region. Volumes in bottler case sales (BCS) declined by 3%, with CSD volumes dropping by 2% and non-CSDs down by 8% in volume terms.

Dr Pepper volume declined 2% driven by mid-single-digit declines in fountain/foodservice, while the so-called 'Core 4' brands of 7UP, Sunkist, A&W and Canada Dry fell by 5% driven primarily by 7UP which had significant promotional activities in the first quarter of 2007. In non-CSDs, growth in Snapple - up 3% - and Mott's - up 6% - were more than offset by double-digit volume declines in Hawaiian Punch, as it cycled a double-digit price increase taken in April 2007, and the loss of DSPG's distribution agreement for Glaceau products in November.

These volume declines, however, were more than offset in value terms by high-single-digit price increases in the quarter, the company said.

"We're off to a solid start in 2008, having delivered good top- and bottom-line results while successfully achieving a number of key initiatives," said company president and CEO, Larry Young.

Looking forward, DPSG said it expects 3% to 5% net sales growth for the full-year, and diluted earnings per share of at least $1.67.

"With escalating commodity costs and a slowing US economy, 2008 is set to be a challenging year for the beverage industry as a whole," Young added. "We remain alert to the impact commodity cost inflation is having on our consumers and the channels they shop."