Making sense of the past seven days
Another hot and sticky day brings to an end another hot and sticky week.

The searing weather will be good news for some retailers - cold drinks and barbecue fare have been flying off the shelves - but many will have experienced wilting sales as the heat makes shoppers droop.

The vagaries of the weather are a perennial bugbear for retailers, but it seems as if extremes and volatility are here to stay as climate change makes its effects felt.

Yesterday, environment secretary David Miliband met bosses of the big grocers to discuss how they might cut carbon emissions. The turn out was impressive - Sir Ken Morrison, Sainsbury's Justin King, Asda chief operating officer David Cheesewright and Tesco company secretary Lucy Neville-Rolfe were all there.

In some ways, Miliband was preaching to the converted. Many retailers, spearheaded by the food giants, have acted to cut energy and fuel consumption in the face of soaring business costs, never mind the environmental benefits. These days wind turbines and solar panels are no longer the interests of the eccentric but are part of cutting-edge business practice.

The threat of global warming is rising up the agenda of consumers too, and they'll have been feeling so hot and bothered the past few weeks that the issue is only likely to become more important.

The trend towards responsibility is evident already in the growing popularity of organic food and fair trade products. Now, retailers with genuine green credentials will find a new way to click with consumers.

No news, then, on the sale of MFI's troubled retail division. Yesterday's horrendous numbers were bound to send the share price south, but the plunge was made worse by the absence of hard information on the progress of a deal.

Three private equity firms are in the frame to take control of MFI Retail - Apax, Argyll and Merchant Equity. In recent weeks, they have bent over backwards to meet deadlines imposed by MFI, and I get the impression they are as much in the dark as everyone else about when the situation will finally be resolved. There is frustration at how the process has been handled, and some doubt about whether there will be a sale at all.

If there's one thing the market hates more than bad performance, it is uncertainty. And right now, MFI's future is obscured by questions rather than illuminated by answers. The sooner there is clarity, the better.