Shares in US grocery retailer Winn-Dixie rose 12% yesterday [Tuesday] after a report claimed that the chain has been trying to sell itself to private equity firms.

A report in the Daily Deal, citing banking sources, claimed that the family that owns 40% in the company is seeking a buyer for its stake, reported Dow Jones News.

Winn-Dixie spokeswoman Kathy Lussier declined to comment on the report but said any information regarding the company would be announced at its annual meeting, which is scheduled for 30 April.

Winn-Dixie recently reported an unexpected net loss of US$79.5m for the second quarter to 7 January, compared to a year-earlier net profit of $91.4m. The company attributed the loss to several factors, including the impact of its aggressive pricing programmes on gross profit margins and increasing competition.

Earlier this month the company announced that Richard P. McCook had resigned from the position of chief financial officer after 20 years with the company. The company appointed Bennett L. Nussbaum as his successor.