Shares Home Retail Group in the parent company of Argos and Homebase dropped 13% to 204p – the worst performance by a bluechip company – as investors booked profits and worried about the impact of promotional activity on margins.

Home Retail had enjoyed a good run since the start of the month, helped by traders buying stock in anticipation of its promotion. But sellers gained the upper hand as the company launched its latest sales, offering 50% off thousands of items at both of its chains.

Matthew McEachran, analyst at Singer Capital Market, said the margin performance of UK retailers this Christmas could be the worst on record, with market research indicating that 82% of the biggest companies are already discounting

Financial Times