Nichols plc, formerly JN Nichols (Vimto) plc has announced an increase in sales by its soft drinks operation by 8% to $39.2m for the year ending December, up from $36.2m in 1999. Announcing a group operating profit of $12m, up by 4% on 1999 ($11.7m), chairman John Nichols said: "The Group has performed well in what has been a challenging and exciting year.