MILTON KEYNES: Homebase reported like-for-like sales 1.6% higher to £458m helped by a buoyant market for garden furniture, plants and exterior decorating products during warm spring weather and the extra bank holiday in April for the royal wedding.

But shares in Home Retail, its parent company, tumbled by nearly 14% in early trading on Thursday after it released disappointing quarterly sales figures for Argos where like-for-like sales fell by 9.6% to £817m during the 13 weeks from 27 February to 28 May.