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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.
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.
“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.