Saks Inc. (NYSE:SKS) stock is soaring after news broke that the Saks Fifth Avenue-owner hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS) to explore a possible sale of the company.

The New York Post reported Tuesday afternoon that the luxury chain, whose flagship store in Manhattan is valued at more than $1 billion, hired Goldman in the last few weeks. By the closing bell, shares in Saks were up more than 11 percent to $13.67, and in after-hours trading, the price had hit $16.26, up 19 percent, by 7:30 p.m. EDT.

KKR and Leonard Green & Partners were reported to be among the likely bidders, along with other large private equity firms.

Earlier on Tuesday, Saks posted a first-quarter net income of $20 million, down from $32.1 million in the same period last year. 

Rahul Sharma, a London-based founder of Neev Capital, said the surge may signal an easing in credit.