Cott Corporation has reported a lift in operating profits in its first quarter despite a slip in sales.

The US soft drinks company said today (5 May) that operating profits in the three months to 3 April were up by 13% on the corresponding quarter a year earlier, coming in at US$25.1m. Sales, however, were down by 1.1% at $362.9m.

Net profits were hit by an income tax expense of $4m, totalling $11.5m. A year earlier, an income tax benefit of $6m helped bolster net profits to $19.9m.

Sales in North America slid by 8.9% in value terms, although UK sales leapt by 24.5%, thanks to continued growth in energy, sports and isotonic products.

"I am pleased with another quarter of improvement in operating income which benefited from strong performances from the UK and Royal Crown International,” said Cott's CEO, Jerry Fowden.

“In what we had previously communicated would be a challenging quarter for volume comparisons, lower North America volumes were more than offset by strong contributions from our other operating segments and lower overhead expenses. Our North America volume comparisons become easier as the year progresses, and we were pleased to see a stronger North America volume performance in April.”

For the official release, click here.