Ladbrokes and Coral owner GVC has seen sales from its betting shops tumble by nearly a fifth after the recent crackdown on controversial fixed-odds betting terminals.

Britain's biggest bookmaker, which has more than 3,400 betting shops, said UK retail net gaming revenues dropped 19 per cent in its second quarter to June 30.

This was driven by a 39% plunge in UK like-for-like machine sales following the Government's move to slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2 in April.

The firm said the UK hit was not as bad as feared, while a surge in online revenues and international business helped offset the betting shop woes to leave overall net gaming revenues 3% higher in the quarter and 5% up in the first half.

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Chief executive Kenneth Alexander said: "The transition to a post-£2 stakes-cut environment in UK retail is progressing very well and we believe the Ladbrokes Coral estate is best placed to take market share."

Bookmakers have been hammered by the FOBT crackdown, which has been compounded by challenging high street conditions.

William Hill announced earlier this month that it was axing around 700 betting shops across the UK, putting 4,500 jobs at risk.

GVC has previously said up to 1,000 of its bookies are at risk of closure due to the stake cut.

In its trading update, GVC confirmed the boost from online gambling, with website net gaming revenues up 16% in the second quarter and 17% over the first half despite a strong performance a year earlier from the football world cup.

UK online sales jumped 19%, it added.

European net gaming revenues were also a bright spot, up 12% in the second quarter.

Vimto maker Nichols has brushed aside a "challenging" UK market to notch up rising half-year sales and profits.

The group posted a 2% rise in half-year pre-tax profits to £13.3 million for the six months to June 30 on revenues 10.2% higher at £71.6m.

It saw UK revenues rise 6.2% to £57.1m as sales of Vimto lifted 4% - but this marked a sharp slowdown on the 9% growth seen a year earlier, when the UK was basking in a summer heatwave.

Chairman John Nichols said: "Nichols plc has delivered another good trading performance in the first half of 2019, with growth across both the UK and international markets."

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The group added: "While UK trading conditions are expected to remain challenging, as a result of the group's diversified business model and sales momentum, the board is confident that full-year earnings will be delivered in line with its expectations."

It also offered investors some cheer, announcing a 9.7% hike in its interim dividend to 12.4p.

Shares lifted 2% after its results.

Outside of the UK, international revenues rose to £14.5m, up from £11.2m, with Middle East sales more than doubling to £4.6m and Africa turnover up 12.6% to £7.6m.

Sales of still drinks were 11.6% higher thanks to demand for its Vimto dilute in the UK and Middle East, while sparkling drinks sales lifted 8.4%.

The group also announced on Wednesday that its chief financial officer of 10 years, Tim Croston, is stepping down in June next year.

It has started the search for his successor.

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Alex Smith, an analyst at Shore Capital, said Nichols's results are "solid enough, albeit a weaker operating margin more than offset a better than expected top line".

The Mr Kipling cake maker, Premier Foods, has seen a boost in sales, partly thanks to the cooler spring and summer weather that led to a rise in sales of Bisto gravy and Paxo stuffing, as well as Ambrosia products, the company said.

The business, which is searching for a new chief executive, said sales in the 13 weeks to June 29 were up 1.1% compared with the same period a year ago, with branded sales up 2.9%. Total UK sales rose 2.6%, Premier added.

Alastair Murray, acting chief executive of Premier Foods, said: "Both Mr Kipling and Batchelors have already benefited from TV advertising campaigns in the first quarter."

He warned that concerns over Brexit had hit its Irish business heavily, with total international sales down 18%.

The company said: "This was due to the unwind of Brexit-related stock in Irish customers' supply chains.

"The international business is, however, expected to return to sales growth in subsequent quarters."