Indie retailer Andrew Thornton has started to win back the shoppers lost following the opening of a Waitrose just 140 feet from his Crouch End store in October 2009.

Sales across his Budgens stores in Crouch End and Belsize Park fell by just 2.1% in the year to 30 September 2011, a marked improvement on the 8.2% fall in 2010.

“In the first half, we were losing some business to Waitrose but clawed a lot back in the second half and anticipate we will be up in both stores in the current year,” said Thornton.

Thornton remodelled Crouch End in 2011 and refurbished Belsize Park in May. “For the first time in nearly six years both stores are how I want them to be,” he said.