Upmarket grocer Whole Foods Market made a £35.9m loss in the UK last year, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

The US grocer – which opened a flagship store on London’s Kensington High Street to much fanfare in June 2007 – has struggled to establish itself in the UK as shoppers have been hit by the recession, and many are choosing to trade down.

UK subsidiary Fresh & Wild made a pre-tax loss of £35.9m for the year to September 28, hit by an impairment charge on several stores and related administrative support assets.

According to The Independent, Whole Foods said in a statement: “The £27.1m impairment charge is simply an accounting measure that does not accurately reflect the progress the company has started to see in the UK.”

The grocer has also rebranded the last four remaining Fresh & Wild stores to its Whole Foods Market brand. It has also drafted in several US veterans to lead the UK including Jeff Turnas as regional president and David Doctorow as vice president.

Turnas said: “Whole Foods Market has been making changes and improvements to the Kensington store, and we have been pleased with the positive reactions we have been receiving from our customers. We plan to continue to make these types of changes at our UK stores as well as continue to aggressively look for additional store sites in London.”