Retail IPOs moved a step closer this week as speculation mounted that New Look is gearing up for a £1.7bn flotation early next year.

New Look chief executive Carl McPhail told Retail Week the business has “a number of options”, but that its immediate focus is on Christmas trading.

The retailer, 22% owned by founder Tom Singh and backed by private equity firms Apax and Permira, is the latest in a string of retailers touted as IPO candidates.

New Look was taken private six years ago for £700m. An attempted £2bn sale in 2007 was unsuccessful.

Pali analyst Nick Bubb said that next spring may present a window of opportunity for retailers to float.