* Terry Duddy to leave after 7 years as CEO
* Internal and external candidates to be considered for role
* Argos MD John Walden seen as favourite for job
LONDON, Sept 4 Home Retail Group,
Britain's biggest household goods retailer, said Terry Duddy,
one of the longest serving leaders in the stores sector, plans
to quit the firm by next July.
After five straight years of profit declines, Home Retail is
trying to reinvent Argos, its biggest business, for the digital
age, targeting a 15 percent rise in sales by
Home Retail, which also owns the Homebase DIY chain, said on
Wednesday Duddy, CEO for seven years, had informed the board of
his intention to step down from his role by the next annual
shareholder meeting on July 2, 2014.
"The positive momentum of the business is now such that I
feel the time is right to move onto the next stage in my
career," said Duddy.
Argos has been hit hard by the economic downturn because its
mainly low-income customers have suffered most, and because it
faces intense competition from specialist stores, supermarkets
like Tesco, and online players like Amazon.
However, it has reported four consecutive quarters of
underlying sales growth, helped by its online drive.
After slumping in the recession, shares in Home Retail have
increased 49 percent over the last year.
The stock was up 0.5 percent to 144.5 pence at 0713 GMT,
valuing the business at 1.17 billion pounds ($1.82 billion).
Home Retail said the search for Duddy's successor would be
led by Chairman John Coombe, and would include both internal and
A spokesman said Duddy's planned exit was entirely his
decision and explained that the July 2 date related to his nine
months notice period.
He said if a successor was secured sooner, Duddy would
Internal candidates will include Argos' managing director
John Walden and Homebase MD Paul Loft.
Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said Walden was the
"Walden will need to deliver another decent Christmas for
Argos to advance his case," he said.