Reed's has posted a lift in sales and gross profit for last year, while saying it expects to break even in 2009.

The US-based soft drinks company said yesterday (4 March) that net sales in 2008 rose by 17% year-on-year, coming in at US$15.3m. Gross profit leapt by 69% to $3.4m, although net profit figures were not disclosed.

Looking forward, the company said it expects additional improvement in 2009 gross profit - by another 20% to 40% - and forecast an additional 2009 OPEX savings of $2.5m over 2008. Subsequently, Reed's said it anticipates this year to be "close to breakeven" as a result of the predicted gross profit expansion and OPEX savings.

The sales rise was driven by increased sales of the company's Virgil's and Reed's Ginger Brews product lines in existing natural food supermarkets, the launch of new products in speciality packaging, introduction of Virgil's Diet Cola, and "rapid expansion into new mainstream supermarkets and distributors", the company said.

"Our strong preliminary revenue and gross margin results reflect the inherent value in Reed's re-aligned business model centred on mainstream grocery store accounts," said Christopher Reed, founder and CEO of Reed's. "In 2008, we recognised the opportunity to leverage our position as the top #1, #2, #3 and #4 selling-sodas in natural foods into the mainstream marketplace. We subsequently repositioned our sales force to better capitalise on this opportunity and have made tremendous strides in expanding our presence in several nationwide grocery store accounts.

"In addition to driving top-line growth, we implemented several methods to improve gross margins and generate operating efficiencies. We expect to generate approximately $2.5m in additional operating expense savings in 2009 resulting from ongoing operating efficiencies implemented in the 4th quarter of 2008."