Catalogue retailers understood to be in discussions about shop sell-off
Argos is understood to be in discussions with catalogue chain Index about buying 12 of Index's 69 stores. A spokesperson for Index said: 'It would be inappropriate to comment on specific discussions, but we get approaches for small parcels of stores on a regular basis.'

Index was demerged from the Littlewoods Stores business when the founding Moores family sold the empire to the Barclay brothers in 2002. At the moment it shares 91 outlets with Littlewoods.

Littlewoods Stores and Index made an operating loss of£8.5 million on sales of£732.5 million in the 14 months to May last year.