Red Bull limited edition can

Red Bull has had its wings clipped in the UK & Ireland as sales of the energy drink dipped and its marketing budget was cut last year.

Red Bull Company reported a 1.1% fall in sales to £233.5m during the year to 31 December 2015, according to newly filed accounts.

Red Bull put this “mixed” performance down to the “highly competitive” UK marketplace.

It said the year had started well with strong volume growth and the successful launch of Red Bull Tropical. However, trading slowed as the pound strengthened against the euro.

The sales fall was matched by a cut in its UK & Ireland marketing spend, down 4.6% to £51.7m in the year.

Pre-tax profits were down 1.3% to £20.2m, though the company increased the dividend payments from £12m to £16m.

In the UK sales fell by almost 4% to £204.2m, while the division’s sales were up by almost 25% to £29.3m in the “rest of Europe”.

But Red Bull said it was successful in winning back key UK trade customers.

In Ireland, it said trading was in line with expectations, but exchange rates had an unfavourable impact on sales.

The wider soft drinks category has been hit by deep deflation over the past two years, with the latest Grocer Price Index showing prices across the category down 4.3% year-on-year in the month to 1 September.