New Look has confirmed that it will float on the stock exchange, poised to value the fast fashion retailer at £1.7bn.

New Look said that £650m raised from the IPO’s new shares would be used to reduce the fast fashion retailer’s debt and allow it to expand in the UK and overseas.

The 1,000-store retailer, which is owned by private equity groups Permira and Apax and founder Tom Singh, said it would have a net debt of £450m following the flotation.

New Look said that existing shareholders might also sell down a “limited” stake.

Chief executive Carl McPhail said he expected the IPO to complete in mid-March.

More than £450m had been invested by New Look’s owners since it was taken private for £699m in 2004.

The long-awaited New Look IPO is the first of a string of potential IPOs in the retail sector, with young fashion group Supergroup also considering the option. Also, last week Pets at Home was sold for £955m.

McPhail said in a statement: “We are delighted that the significant transformation of New Look over recent years has positioned us as a leading UK fast fashion value retailer. Today’s announcement is the latest exciting stage in our development and we look forward to growing our business, both in the UK and internationally.”

Sales at New Look were £1.3bn last year with EBITDA of £218m. It has 601 stores in Britain and more than 1,000 in total globally.

Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan Cazenove are acting as joint sponsors and bookrunners for the offer, with Lazzard also acting as a joint sponsor.

New Look cancelled a flotation in 2007 after shareholders balked at the £1.8bn price tag.