Booths, the privately owned grocer, has drafted in advisers to organise a sale.
Booths has brought on board NM Rothschild to solicit offers, The Sunday Times reported, after suffering a loss of £6.3m last year, it is understood.
The retailer is likely to attract a price tag of between £130m and £150m, it is thought. However, the owning family is understood to want a higher price.
Booths opened its first store in 1847. It now has 28 branches in the North of England and recently struck a deal to sell a variety of its product through Amazon Fresh.
However, the retailer has battled a variety of challenges. Storm Desmond in December 2015 damaged several of Booths’ shops and the retailer posted a loss in year to the end of March 2016, the latest period for which results are available.
In the summer of this year lenders HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland called in adviser Grant Thornton to review Booths’ finances.
Booths is run by executive chairman Edwin Booth, following the departure of former chief executive Chris Dee in May after 22 years with the retailer.
The Booth family control 96% of the retailer’s shares and the rest are owned by staff.
A Booths spokeswoman said the retailer always kept its “strategic options open”. She said: “Booths has been retailing for over 170 years and it remains a very strong, resilient and well-loved brand.
“One of our strengths has been our ability to adapt to changing market conditions.”