Home Retail Group, owner of Argos and Homebase, has disclosed a 40% increase in chief executive Terry Duddy’s rewards package last year.

Home Retail’s annual report and accounts showed his total remuneration rose from just under £1.1m to £1.6m last year. That included a £662,000 annual bonus, deferred in shares until May 2016.

The share award is likely to be seen as a sign of Duddy’s commitment to remaining at the retailer following speculation about how long he might remain in the role.

Although the bonus was voluntarily reduced from 118% to 79% of Duddy’s base salary, some investors may look askance because Home Retail’s profits fell last year.

However performance has improved at flagship division Argos, which is being recast as a digitally-led business by managing director John Walden.