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Retailer Sears Considers Move To Columbus

Columbus is in the running to become the headquarters for another large retailer. WOSU reports the Sears Holding Corporation is considering moving its headquarters from Illinois. The company, now based in Hoffman Estates – a suburb of Chicago, is about to lose its tax incentives package. As a result, Sears executives are considering relocating. Retail consultant Chris Boring said Columbus has a good shot at winning the placement because of its deep pool of corporate retail talent. “We’ve had several very successful retail start ups right here in Columbus. I guess the most famous one would be The Limited which now is Limited Brands, Abercrombie and Fitch, Big Lots and several of the restaurant chains," Boring said. And Boring adds not only is there a large group of retail consultants and experts, there’s Ohio State which adds to the appeal. “It turns out thousands and thousands of business graduates each year, and its retail school is nationally renowned," he said. While the relocation could potentially add jobs to Columbus, it would mean a loss for Sears’ current home. “This would be a huge hit," Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said. McLeod said the village already is economically challenged. Sixty-two-hundred people work at Sears’ massive facility. He said it’s the town’s largest employer. “We have a very large Marriott hotel right out by Sears. That hotel would probably go under if that Sears weren’t there. And there’s many businesses that depend on being there for their existence," he said. McLeod said Sears has not confirmed to him they are moving, only that its entertaining offers. He said the company has been there since the mid-90s, and generates about $10 million a year for the local economy. Sears also is reportedly in talks with Austin, Texas.