A lacklustre update from B&Q owner Kingfisher and news of legal action against Tesco put the retail sector on the back foot.
Shares in Kingfisher shed more than 4 per cent, down 12.5p at 291.3p, after a bigger-than-expected fall in quarterly profits.
Retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “The third-quarter results are disappointing, although downbeat noises about the key business in France were not unexpected.
“The good old UK business did its bit for the group, with sales and profits up a bit overall, but that was all thanks to Screwfix, with B&Q not exactly setting the world alight.”
Meanwhile, Tesco was down 5.25p at 188.15p amid news that shareholders were suing the firm over its recent financial reporting scandal.
With ex-dividend factors and downbeat comments concerning Christmas trading from retail tycoon Sir Philip Green also in the equation, Tesco’s rivals were just as unloved. Sainsbury’s was down 10.9p to 241.4p and Morrisons dropped 5.9p to 181.1p.
The wider FTSE 100 Index was little changed – up 1.35 points at 6,731.14 – as heavyweight miners such as BHP Billiton and Anglo American fell nearly 2 per cent as their boost from the surprise cut in Chinese interest rates continued to fade. BHP Billiton was down 27.5p to 1,593.5p while Anglo fell 24.5p to 1,329.5p.
Outside the top flight, shares in online retailer AO World rose 0.3p to 217.3p after it reported more strong trading figures from its UK division.
And JD Sports Fashion lifted 4 per cent, or 16.7p, to 466p as investors cheered the disposal of its loss-making Bank fashion business to restructuring firm Hilco. It said the remainder of its businesses were trading in line with expectations.