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, said spokesman Chris Brathwaite.
"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," Brathwaite said.
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.
"We want to make sure we keep 6,200 jobs in our community; they're a huge employer," McLeod said, adding that he doesn't assume the company will stay put. "They've moved once before."
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.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said he and other public officials would sit down with Sears representatives.
"I'm sure we'll work out something that will be good for the company," Quinn said Monday at an unrelated news conference. "But most importantly for the common good, for the workers, for the jobs."
Brathwaite said it is important to know that Sears has "made no decisions at this point."
Quinn said the state is looking forward to working with Sears.
"We have, according to our law, incentive opportunities for businesses as long as they do something for the people," Quinn said. "They have to make investments in Illinois."