UK snacks and confectionery maker Glisten said today (13 November) it had enjoyed a "reasonable" start to the year with sales 15% ahead of last year.

The Leeds-based business is holding its annual meeting today, at which chairman Jeremy Hamer will tell shareholders that the Christmas period is an "important" time for the business.

He will tell the meeting: "Despite the difficult trading environment which is slowing the progress of all our business units to differing degrees, we have had a reasonable start to the year with sales for the first 18 weeks of the current financial year 15% ahead of last year at GBP24.3m (US$36.3m) and 5% ahead on an adjusted like-for-like basis.

"The Christmas/New Year trading period remains important for all our businesses, particularly Dormen Nuts, Snacks Unlimited and Glisten Confectionery at Christmas and Halo Foods in the post-Christmas period when consumers look for healthier products."

Hamer will also outline changes to Glisten's second-half trading programme. The company is looking to meet the economic downturn by placing "increased emphasis" on delivering "better consumer value".

Glisten is launching natural snacking products retailing at around GBP0.99 (US$1.48). The "price-fighting" products, under the company's own brand names, have already been listed by some retailers and will launch early next year.

Hamer will say Glisten is "confident" it can "weather the storm" but he will add: "Market conditions across the consumer sector are self evidently difficult and demand levels are more volatile than usual. We will therefore continue with our plan and review our position in the New Year when we have a clearer outlook."