Saks Extends Rally to Second Straight Day on Rumor of Sale.

Michael Teague  |

Shares for high end department store retailer Saks, Inc. (SKS) were on a tear on Wednesday, advancing over 15 percent at one point to $16.16 per share on news that the company has hired Goldman Sachs (GS) to advise it on its path forward, with the possibility of a sale being one of the options the company is considering.

Shares had already bumped up on Tuesday after an unexpectedly positive earnings report showed the company bucking a department store-wide trend of a decline in sales of more expensive luxury items. During the first quarter of 2013, Saks saw a nearly 6-percent increase in same-store sales, higher than any other department store in Q1, and beat earnings-per-share estimates by 2.2 percent.

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Shares leapt some 11 percent as a result, and gained another 18 percent in late trading after the news about Goldman and a potential sale was reported after the close. The original report suggested that private equity firms such as KKR and Leonard Green & Partners could be among the likely bidders.

With revenue from stores open at least one year up nearly 6 percent in the first quarter, and in a climate that has seen other department stores lag, particularly in sales of high-end or pricier items, the company that operates the iconic Saks Fifth Avenue heads in to any buyout deal from a position of strength.

Saks, with a market cap of just over $2 billion, has declined to comment on the matter, but has made considerable efforts recently to bolster its e-commerce operations. The company has enlisted the help of application software giant Oracle (ORCL) in a long-term project that will make shopping online at Saks a far more coherent experience.

UBS analyst Michael Binetti has estimated a $16 per-share sale price for the company.

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