Furniture specialist DFS is contemplating a stock market flotation that could value the retailer at £1bn. According to The Sunday Times, Advent – DFS' private equity backer – is ready to hire advisers in the next few weeks to prepare for a float.

DFS is expected to be valued at between £800m and £1bn, and the float is forecast for next year.

Advent International bought DFS from founder Lord Kirkham three years ago for £590m. It says of DFS: “The business operates in a sector which has been difficult for some retailers, but the company’s relative size, own-manufacturing capabilities and reputation as market leader has allowed it to perform well and gain market share since the downturn in 2008.”

However, Retail Week magazine has reported that speculation over the potential float has been "dismissed by sources familiar with the situation".