Vermont Pure Holdings has posted a lift in sales but a slide in income for the first nine months of this year.

The US home and office water supplier said yesterday (17 September) that operational income for the nine months to the end of July fell to US$4.6m from $4.7m a year earlier. Sales in the period, however, registered an increase of 4% year-on-year, coming in at $48m.

Net profit fell markedly, by 29% to $1.28m from $1.8m in the corresponding nine-month period a year earlier. The fall in net profit was blamed primarily on a favourable legal settlement - $450,000, net of tax - in the third quarter of 2006 and increased advertising costs in the third quarter of 2007.

For the third quarter, operational profit was down to $1.8m from $2.1m, with sales rising by 4% to $17.1m. Net profit plunged by 54% to $577,000 from $1.25m.

"In the third quarter, we increased our advertising spending to strengthen our brand identification in selected markets," said Vermont Pure's CEO, Peter Baker. "This is a strategy that we plan to continue to enhance the consumer's image of our products and service throughout our marketplace which we would expect to result in a favourable financial impact over the long term."

The company, the third-largest HOD water supplier in the US, also produces the Crystal Rock bottled water brand.