Making sense of the past seven days
At long last the future of MFI's retail arm has been resolved, with the sale of the business to Merchant Equity Partners this morning for a nominal£1.

For MFI Group chief executive Matthew Ingle it removes a ghastly headache and allows him to concentrate on the successful Howdens business, with which he clearly has a much greater affinity.

For the purchasers, buying MFI Retail as its first deal is a tremendous coup for former Deutsche Bank banker Henry Jackson in his new guise running Merchant. Now the hard work starts, and the task ahead is mammoth.

Cynics may doubt the claim, made in today's Retail Week, that Merchant wants MFI to trade its way out of trouble, rather than making the quick savings more normally associated with private equity investors. But Jackson has put in place a proven retailer - former Magnet boss Gary Favell - to run the stores, and the business has been so poorly run in recent years that the scope to improve the situation is great.

For too long MFI's performance in the real basics of furniture retailing, particularly delivery, has been so poor that it has been easy for rivals like Ikea to walk all over it. The success of Howden has meant that successive managements have neglected the core stores business in favour of the exciting new trade format.

What Favell has on his side is a brand with great heritage, even if it is slightly tarnished, and the knowledge that the business can scarcely get any worse than it has been. If he and Jackson get it right, it could turn out to be a cracking deal.

Morrisons' new chief executive Marc Bolland must be wondering what all the fuss was about. He joined just three weeks ago and, as yesterday's interim results showed, he has joined a business that is well on the road to recovery.

Everyone knows that the integration with Safeway was badly handled, but what yesterday's numbers showed was that Morrisons has not lost what made it successful in the first place - that it is a very good grocer.

It has been keeping its head down and concentrating on the nuts and bolts, while its three big rivals have been obsessed with trying to outgun and outgreen each other in the publicity stakes. It looks like a strategy that is paying off.