Report: Sears Might Move Headquarters To D.C. Area

WASHINGTON (CBS) — Sears is thinking of moving its corporate headquarters out of Illinois to Washington, D.C., according to a published report.

Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Post reported Sunday that Sears Holdings Inc., which owns Sears and K-Mart, has been inquiring about sites near the nation’s capital for the past two weeks.

Sears has also been looking at Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina and Texas as possible sites for its headquarters, the Washington Post reported.

Rumors that Sears was considering abandoning Illinois surfaced last month.

Sears has been headquartered in Illinois longer than anyone living today has been alive. Richard Warren Sears moved his company from Minneapolis to Chicago and met partner Alvah C. Roebuck in 1887.

But the mayor of Hoffman Estates, where the company is now based, said in May that the departure by Sears is a real threat.

“It’s a real possibility that Sears could relocate,” Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod told CBS 2’s Jim Williams last month. “They have a responsibility to their shareholders, to make the best deal they can for them.”

Back in 1989, the company threatened to move to North Carolina, so the state put together a package of tax incentives and Sears moved from the Sears Tower – now known as the Willis Tower – to Hoffman Estates.

Gov. Pat Quinn indicated last month that he may make a similar effort to keep the company in Illinois.

“I’m sure we’ll work out something that will work for the company, but most importantly, work for the common good; for the workers; for the jobs,” Quinn said in May.

Sears is one of many companies that have discussed moving out of Illinois due to a hike in the state’s corporate tax in January, from 9.5 percent from 7.3 percent.

Peoria-based Caterpillar made headlines in March for a letter indicating that it might leave the state, but chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman decided to keep the company in following a meeting with Gov. Pat Quinn.

Later, Quinn offered Motorola Mobility $100 million in financial incentives to keep its corporate headquarters in Libertyville.

Navistar, and most recently, the CME Group – parent company of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Board of Trade – have also talked about leaving the state in recent months.

  • Leo

    Another corporation will get it’s tax-free status from Gov. Quinn.

    • Corner Wino

      it’s been reported Gov. Wimpy (too scared to say no to madigan mob) was hanging around the mens room, ready to drop to his knees faster then barney frank, ..Gov. Wimpy says he’ll stay here if he has to suck off everyone to keep them here…hs next stop will be the greyhound bus station mens room…

  • vincent

    And that is precisely the issue when you try to balance your books on tax rates rather than growth.

    The sad thing is that Sears got major tax breaks when they moved to Hoffman Estates, with the promise that after the breaks expired HE and Ilinois would then benefit. Unfortunately neither the state nor the soon-to-be unemployed will benefit.

    Enough deal making with individual companies. How about making the business environment attractive to all?

    Its time for the politicians to take the hair cut that everyone else has had to endure. Time to dump pensions for elected officials, install term limits and limit pay to part time pay to compensate them for the hours they actually do work.

    • Jeffy

      agreed Il officlas take a hair cut 10% salary cuts and 10% layoffs, no more defined benefit retirement plan but 457 plans with a 6% contribution as long as our budget is balanced, othwerise no IL tax payer contributions to the 457 of any state employee (including h!juges and collge staff)

  • GO Southside

    OK LEO,

    Look at what is at stake here. The people that will lose their jobs. Loss their homes. Towns losing out on this company tax dollar if they leave. We have to lose to just stay a float.

  • iris

    I won’t miss them.

  • Mohammed Bin

    I won’t miss them, either! Oh, they should, also, move their stores out of Illinois

  • Bobby

    Your all idiots. While I don’t personally shop at Sears, they employ thousands! They also pay a hefty chunk of corp. state taxes each year. Thank your elected Governor Quinn for driving MORE business OUT of Illinois.

    • Idiot Bobby

      It’s “you’re” smart guy.

      • mary

        no its not, you’re is you would not say thank you are govener.well you might but those of us who speak english would not

      • Concerned Neighbor

        @ Bobby – you are correct. They do employee thousands at the HQ in Hoffman. For all of you who won’t miss them, think of all of the neighboring communities that will. Schaumburg, Hoffman, Elgin, Carpentersville – These employees live in and shop in all of those communities and many more. When the 4-6 THOUSAND people are laid off/relocate due to the move imagine how the local economies will struggle. The nearby restaurants will be out of a significant lunch crowd, home foreclosures will skyrocket.

        @Mary – It seems Idiot Bobby was correcting the first use of the word “your” as in “your all idiots”. Which should be “you are all idiots”. Pay attention before you correct people.

  • bob

    Maybe a few hundred thousand residents need to get together and threaten to move out of IL. Will Quinn give us a tax break then? OH, we can’t leave. We can’t sell our homes since they’ve been devalued with the housing crisis. We’re stuck and we cant get out.

  • Kirk

    Welcome to the Nations Captiol Region.
    Traffic gridlock, high home,rent, food and school costs.
    If in Maryland, DC, or Fairfax County, high taxes for sure.
    But, hey you get to watch your tax dollars burned away
    from a front row seat.

  • tax payer

    ATTN: ALL ILLINOIS POLITICIANS and GOV.QUINN.with all this big companies threating to leave the state of is your tax rate increase doing.please,why not cut your hefty salaries and why us tax payer must suffered.why do we need you tax tax tax.illinois has new logo.Land of BIG FREE LOADERS.

  • Bill S.

    Quinn the Eskimo beat us all down. I’m losing my @ss to these new tax rates.(I drive a limo and have to pay all my taxes quarterly being self-employed) HELP!! ME!!!

  • Florida Governor Trying To Lure CME Group « CBS Chicago

    […] The latest reports indicated that Sears had been inquiring about moving to the Washington, D.C., are… Share this article No comments // […]

  • willie

    DC, Texas or any other state is better than this corrupt state. Run forrest run!

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