Starbucks has reported a drop in UK sales for the first time in its 16 year history, and revealed it closed 44 branches last year.

Results filed yesterday with Companies House for the year ending 29 September show sales at Starbucks Coffee Company (UK) declined 3.4% to £399m. Gross profit for the period rose 13% to £79.8m, but after deducting payments to other branches of the company such as royalties for the use of the Starbucks brand, the company recorded a loss in the UK of £20m.

The company was hit by bad publicity in 2012 after it was revealed it was among several high profile companies to pay no tax in the UK. Starbucks has now said it will pay £20m in taxes in 2013 and 2014.

The directors said the economy was improving and the main objective for the coming year as to “maintain Starbucks as a well recognised and respected brand.”