Home Retail Group has formally begun the search for a new managing director of its flagship Argos business with the appointment of headhunters.

The retailer has handed the assignment to Odgers Berndtson.

There had been speculation that the appointment of a new Argos managing director would be put on the back-burner in light of tough trading conditions and that Home Retail chief executive Terry Duddy would continue to run the catalogue-store group. The appointment of headhunters indicates that that will not be the case.

An Argos spokeswoman said: “Odgers have been appointed to assist in the search process for the new Argos managing director.

“We are intending to review both internal and external candidates and we will update the market once a successful candidate has been appointed.”

Sara Weller stood down in June from the role of Argos managing director, for personal reasons.