Apparel giant Nautica Enterprises Inc was on Tuesday reported to have held informal talks with five potential suitors over the past eight months.

The New York Post cited a source as saying the company has held initial discussions with Tommy Hilfiger, Jones Apparel Group, Liz Claiborne, VF Corp and Kellwood Co.

It added Jones Apparel was seen as the favourite in the race for Nautica, which late last week said it was in talks with an unnamed party that could result in a possible sale.

The New York Post added a Nautica executive was not immediately available for comment.