Sears considers moving out of Illinois

Sears Holdings Corp. is researching a possible move of its headquarters and 6,200 jobs out of Illinois, a company spokesman said Monday.

The retailer has had preliminary discussions with the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, where it is located, and has commissioned an economic impact study, according to spokesman Chris Brathwaite.

Among the states the chain is researching are: Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Georgia and New Jersey, according to reports Sunday in the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald of suburban Chicago.

State and local incentives that Sears receives will expire in 2012, Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said. The town and company have been talking for about a year, he said, and Hoffman Estates hopes to extend the tax breaks for another 15 years and keep the largest local employer in town.

"It’s very important for everyone to understand that we have made no decisions at this point," Brathwaite said in a statement. "We do owe it to our associates and shareholders to consider options and alternatives and intend to be very thoughtful and thorough in our deliberations."

Sears, Roebuck & Co. moved to Hoffman Estates in the mid-1990s from its former headquarters in downtown Chicago. That company merged with Kmart to form Sears Holding in 2004.