Stand back! Here are the WORST performing UK stocks over the last decade

Paul Summers looks at the three biggest wealth killers since 2010.

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Yesterday, I took a closer look at the three best performing UK stocks over the last decade, according to a recent report from financial data firm Refinitiv. Today, I’m focusing on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Here are the three stocks that gave the most pain to their holders over the last 10 years. 

Wealth killer

Considering the sea change in the fortunes of many high street retailers over the last decade, it is not surprising that two of them make the cut.

In bronze medal position is baby goods seller Mothercare (LSE: MTC). According to Refinitiv, shares in the battered firm lost almost 96% of their value over the last decade, with a compound annual growth rate of -27.23%. 

Mothercare’s demise is a cautionary tale on the importance of moving with the times, at least as far as UK trading is concerned. While factors such as rising wages and expensive rents clearly played a role, it was the company’s inability to offer shoppers something distinct in terms of quality, price, or convenience that proved to be the final nail in its coffin.  

With no sign that the onslaught from online-only operators is going to slow anytime soon, I think we can be fairly sure that Mothercare won’t be the last once-mighty name to fold.

Money pit

The fact that a commodity-focused firm makes the list is another non-surprise. Weak prices led the Basic Materials sector to perform particularly poorly over the last decade with an annualised growth rate of just 3.1%.

Occupying second spot on our list of stinkers is Russian gold miner Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG). Its shares fell a little more than 96% over the period, with a compound annual growth rate of -27.68%.

That’s not to say that the company is done for. Despite its valuation tumbling over the years, Petropavlovsk remains a sizeable business with a market capitalisation of a little over £400m. What’s more, holders enjoyed a steller 2019 with shares almost doubling in value. 

With the gold price continuing to rise on concerns over the health of the global economy, it’s possible to imagine this stock could still make money for those brave (or reckless) enough to buy it. Just don’t expect a comfortable ride. 

And the winner is….

Mothercare and Petropavlovsk have been awful stocks to own since 2010. There is, however, one UK-listed firm that’s fared even worse. 

Top spot among the worst shares over the last decade goes to floor covering supplier Carpetright (LSE: CPR). The value of the company fell 99% over the last decade with a compound annual growth rate of almost -40%.

Like Mothercare, the firm’s value was destroyed by a challenging consumer market and crippling finances. It agreed to be purchased for a paltry £15.2m by its largest shareholder (Meditor) last November. At the time, the Purfleet-based business owed around £56m and said that it needed £80m if it was to return to growth. 

The fact that the stock traded around the 800p mark in 2010 and sold for just 5p per share a decade later shows just how brutal a game investing can sometimes be. It also provides Fools with a reminder of the importance of exiting a losing position as early as possible if the investment case changes. 

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Paul Summers has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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