Whole Foods’ UK business posted widening losses of £14.2m last year, despite a surge in sales.

Sales rose 26% to £81.5m in the year to September 29, 2013 and like-for-like sales jumped 8.6%.

Pre-tax losses widened by 12.6% to £14.2m. The retailer said this was due to head office costs and the investment made in opening a new store in Cheltenham as well as plans for branches in Richmond and Fulham, according to the Guardian.

Whole Foods appears to have benefitted from customers seeking high quality food in a divided UK food market where premium grocers such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are trading strongly, along with discounters Aldi and Lidl at the other end of the market.

Whole Foods UK regional president Jeff Turnas said: “We are pleased with our healthy store sales growth, which we believe highlights the increasing awareness of the Whole Foods Market brand and demand for the differentiated shopping experience we offer. We expect our investments to deliver strong returns over the long term.”