The retailer, which is Canada's oldest company, says it has filed a preliminary prospectus for an initial public offering of its shares.
The price and number of shares to be put on the market through an IPO typically aren't disclosed until a final prospectus is completed following an transition period that gives prospective investors time to evaluate the company.
"The offering is being made through a syndicate of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets, BMO Capital Markets, CIBC and BofA Merrill Lynch who will act as joint bookrunners," the company said in a brief statement.
The owner of The Bay department stores last traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2006 before it was taken private by U.S. businessman Jerry Zucker, who later died unexpectedly.
New York-based NRDC Equity Partners, owner of American department store chain Lord & Taylor, acquired the company in 2008 from Zucker's widow.
The company sold leasing rights last year on more than 200 Zellers locations to U.S. retailer Target in a move that was seen by some as a prelude to an initial public offering.
The company has made efforts to revitalize its Bay stores with the introduction of high-end boutique spaces in its flagship Toronto store as well as obtaining the rights to produce uniforms and merchandise for Canada's Olympic athletes.
The retailer also hired former Holt Renfrew executive Bonnie Brooks as president and chief spokeswoman for The Bay. She was in Vancouver on Wednesday for the launch of a Topshop boutique within a downtown Bay store.
The move by HBC back to the public markets follows the success of a pair of other Canadian retailers.
Both athletic clothing retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. (TSX:LLL) and discount retailer Dollarama Inc. (TSX:DOL) have seen the value of their shares take off since becoming publicly traded companies in recent years.
However, the initial public offering comes as HBC gets set to face increased competition, not only from Target next year, but also chic U.S. retailer Nordstrom, which is opening of its first four Canadian stores in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver starting in 2014.
Sears Canada, which has struggled, is also working to refresh and transform its stores in Canada by revamping its operations, cutting jobs and slashing prices in a bid to improve its position.
Hudson's Bay was founded in 1670 and is the oldest commercial corporation in North America. Through its early days in the fur trade, the company historically controlled huge tracts of land and was involved in a wide range of enterprises.
In modern history, the company has been focused on retailing through several several brands.
The company has been in the process of shutting down its Zellers brand but continues to operate Home Outfitters stores as well as its flagship Bay chain.