Stokes, the south west based greengrocer, has fallen back into the red.

The retailer, which has 35 stores and claims to be the largest independent greengrocer in the UK, reported a pre-tax loss of £643,566 for the year to 25 April 2009, against a profit of £429,861 the year before, according to accounts at Companies House. Sales dropped 8.3% to £13.3m.

Stokes blamed continued pressure from the multiples. "The company has faced difficult trading conditions, the main factors being increased competition from supermarkets, who continue to draw customers away from traditional high-street retailers, and the economic climate," the directors said. "In response the company has developed its range at a number of stores to provide a realistic alternative to supermarket shopping."

Stokes also said it planned to refurbish a number of stores and open in new locations this year.