Upmarket frozen ready meals retailer Cook has fallen back into the red.

The south east-based indie reported a pre-tax profit of £32,000 in 2007 - its first pre-tax profit in its 11-year history - but it posted a loss of £328,000 in 2008, latest figures have revealed. Sales during the period rose from £11.1m to £14m.

Founder Edward Perry said the loss followed a £2.5m investment in a new 30,000 sq ft factory in Sittingbourne, Kent, which opened in September 2007. The company dubs it "the kitchen" because all dishes are hand-prepared.

In 2008, the chain also opened 11 new stores across the south east of England, pushing its estate to 32 stores.

Trading over the Christmas period had been satisfactory, Perry claimed. "Christmas was down on last year, but people started shopping later this year and in the end trading was better than we thought it would be," he said.

The retailer is currently offering five meals for the price of four on all children's ready meals and a curry night for two for £10. Under the curry night deal, customers can choose any two one-portion curries as well as a two-portion plain rice and an Aloo Gobi Saag.