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The week that saw renewed retail confidence?

Over the last five years tales of administrations, closures and economic woe have dominated the headlines yet this week several lights at the end of the long dark tunnel appeared.

The news last Friday that womenswear retailer Bonmarché is planning to go public is among the positive stories rippling throughout the industry. The news has instilled confidence in the market and analysts have now forecast there will be further IPOs over the next year, with House of Fraser and The Hut Group predicted to be among those first off the mark.

There certainly seems to be a renewed confidence in the fashion and retail market again, with people more optimistic about the outlook.

Footwear brand Dr Martens was snapped up for £300m echoing the sentiment that big named brands are worth paying for.

Yet another sign that people are willing to experiment instead of playing it safe is the number of launches, expansions and refits seen this week.

Tesco launching its first distinct womenswear boutique in the UK this week, with plans to establish its clothing label F&F as a brand in its own right.

Meanwhile Topshop launched its first French floorspace within Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette and Primark has signed a lease to extend its already sizable Tottenham Court Road store.

Sales at some of the UK’s largest retailers have also provided further cheer. Sports Direct and Asos both this week revealed revenue rises with the sportswear business boasting a 19.4% jump in profits the etailer’s profits soaring 37%.

This is not to suggest that consumers are ready to spend again in the same way they did prior to 2008 and of course businesses must be wary of thinking the worst is over - caution is still very much the watchword.

But although the storm may not totally be over, it appears there is some sunshine on the horizon.

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