Women's apparel retailer The Limited Stores has hired Guggenheim Partners as financial adviser to explore a possible sale, people familiar with the matter said.

The retailer, which is backed by Florida private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc., has been struggling recently because of the declining traffic at malls and industry headwinds that have led to the recent bankruptcy filings of other retailers.

These people said potential buyers include retail competitors and financial firms. A restructuring could also be a possibility, these people added.

"Limited Stores is exploring a number of options that would provide the company with greater financial flexibility," a company spokesperson said Friday.

Sun Capital declined to comment while Guggenheim didn't respond to requests for comment.

The Limited was founded in 1963 in Columbus, Ohio, and later went public in the early 1980s. In 2007, L Brands Inc., the current owner of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, agreed to sell a 75% stake in the company to Sun Capital. The retail-focused private-equity firm had chipped in $50 million of equity and lined up a $75 million loan to buy Limited Stores.

Write to Lillian Rizzo at Lillian.Rizzo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 18, 2016 15:55 ET (20:55 GMT)

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