Now the election is out of the way, chiefs of private retailers with an eye on a IPO - Ocado among them - will anxiously follow the political and economic weather reports and consider whether they can get their floats away.

Now the election is out of the way, chiefs of private retailers with an eye on a IPO - Ocado among them - will anxiously follow the political and economic weather reports and consider whether they can get their floats away.

The opening for flotations will be limited in the short term. There may be an opportunity in June, after the bedding-in of the new Government, although the scheduling of an emergency budget in the middle of that month might complicate things.

After that, IPO candidates might have to wait until September while financiers jet-set off to Necker Island or Nice for their summer breaks. But, for retailers, a September float would bring the complication that investors might prefer to wait until Christmas performance could be gauged before backing it.

Ocado’s flotation plans are thought to be well advanced. Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Cazenove and UBS are reportedly on standby as advisers. But, on top of the complexities that would beset any retail flot­ation, Ocado faces particular conundrums.

Ocado, profitable at the EBITDA but not at the pre-tax level, has carved out a niche in the tough world of grocery. But its rivals’ enormous and growing ecommerce firepower means the jury remains out on how big and successful Ocado is likely to become.

On Tuesday, broker Bernstein published a note on Ocado questioning the impact that a flotation would have on other grocers. The broker said Ocado only becomes a threat “if it can demonstrate superior economics to its competitors, at which point, in theory, it could choose to reinvest surplus profit to improve

its relative position and, over time, gain share”. The broker concluded that “Ocado remains a long way from this position”.

There is little likelihood, judged Bernstein, that Ocado will be a “game changer”. It will be up to Ocado’s directors, should they proceed with a float, to come up with convincing answers why that would not be the case.