An increasingly happy tune is being whistled at HMV which, to the surprise of some, looks better placed than it has done in years.

An increasingly happy tune is being whistled at HMV which, to the surprise of some, looks better placed than it has done in years.

Last week, the retailer sold live music venue the Hammersmith Apollo for £32m and, subject to a few formalities relating to the deal, will be able to amend its £220m borrowing arrangements with lenders so that the facility is extended until the end of September 2014.

The disposal and new financing terms “together represent an important step towards strengthening HMV’s capital structure”, the retailer reported, and will allow increased focus on the core retail business.

That business is looking more solid. Although a loss of about £16m is expected for the year just ended, HMV said last month that a profit of at least that amount is anticipated in the current financial year compared to analysts’ forecasts at the time of another year in the red.

There’s still lots to be done. In the year just ended, retail like-for-likes continued to fall – down 11.7%. But HMV chief executive Simon Fox has impressed by keeping the business alive and establishing firm financial foundations.

It would be no surprise, however, if after finally pulling the rabbit of profitability out of the hat, the magic-loving Fox decided he’d done his bit and looked for his next role. His achievements against the odds at HMV no doubt make him a fixture on the headhunters’ lists.

Kingfisher weathers wet spring

This year, including the wettest April on record, has put the lie to former M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose’s quip that weather is for wimps. Kingfisher was the latest to take a hit as a result of appalling spring weather as flagship businesses B&Q and Castorama got caught in the rain.

However, the retailer’s ‘Creating the leader’ programme should ensure momentum continues over the longer term and provide protection even if the weather – and consumer climate – is sometimes damp.