(Reuters) — Belk Inc is exploring a sale that could value the largest family-owned and operated department store chain in the United States at as much as $4 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Belk has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) to help it evaluate strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, the people said.

Major department stores, such as Macy’s Inc (M.N), Bon-Ton Stores Inc (BONT.O) and Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N), as well as large private equity firms are expected to be contacted by Belk to solicit their interest in a deal, the people added.

Belk is projected to have annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization this year of around $400 million, one of the people said.

The sources asked not to be named because the matter is confidential. Belk, Goldman Sachs, Bon-Ton and Nordstrom did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Macy’s declined to comment.