Starbucks hit by first fall in UK sales

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Starbucks reported its first ever fall in UK sales last year, during a period when it was hit by a customer boycott over its tax payments.

The US-owned coffee shop chain had seen 16 years of strong growth in Britain but accounts for the year to October 2013 showed that turnover fell from £413m to £399m.

Starbucks said the fall was the result of the closure of unprofitable outlets. It said gross profits were up 13 per cent while overall pre-tax losses narrowed by more than 30 per cent to £20.5m.

It said the UK business was “moving in the right direction” and this would continue as it reduced costs and leases expired.

Last week it emerged that the international group was moving its European HQ to London from Amsterdam and that it would now pay more tax in the UK, following a row over avoidance.