The UK operation of Starbucks has revealed widening losses despite a near 4% rise in sales. Recently filed accounts for the 12 months to 27 September 2009 show losses grew to £9.9m, from £1.9m in 2009. The company said the losses stemmed from the 700-store operation enduring a tough trading period plus costs connected to closing unprofitable stores and a rationalisation of central overheads. Sales rose 3.9% to £388.3m. A spokesman for the company said: “These figures from last year reflect an undeniably tough period at the height of the recession and the substantial investment we made to alter the course of the business at that time.” The company had "looked at every aspect of the business and we have a clear path to profitability in the UK”, said the spokesman. Starbucks said that in the fourth quarter of its year to September 2009 the business had been returned to like-for-like sales growth. That growth had continued and “accelerated” in the current year, with two further quarters of like-for-like growth, rising to 5% in its most recent quarter (to the end of June). The group also revealed that by the close of its current financial year it would have invested £24m in both new stores and upgrades to existing ones – a programme that will touch 100 locations. The accounts filed at Companies House, showed that the US parent company of Starbucks Coffee Company (UK) invested £14m in the business in July 2009 and a further £13m in October 2009. Its highest-paid director received a total package, including pension and benefits, of £270,258, down from £511,000 the previous year.