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Delete as applicable: Argos stores are irritating/surreal/essential. Home Retail Group (HRG), which owns Argos and DIY chain Homebase, is betting that consumer impatience will gradually push them towards option three. HRG certainly needs something to go its way. Full-year results, reported on Wednesday, showed that underlying profit fell a tenth last year. The group operating margin, meanwhile, is down from 5 per cent in 2009 to 1.7 per cent.

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