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Sears Extending Store Hours, Will Stay In Illinois

Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears stores in 260 markets will
remain open until midnight starting tomorrow and continuing through Friday,
Dec. 23.

Separately, the company, which had been looking to relocate
to a more tax-favorable state, said it will remain at its headquarters here
after the Illinois legislature granted it new incentives to stay.

The extended store hours reflect the results of a new Sears-commissioned
survey showing that 71 percent of consumers have or were planning to shop
during off hours, and that 18 percent have or are planning to shop a late-night,
in-store sale beginning at 9 p.m. or later.

“We listen to our customers day-in and day-out and
continually adapt to the ways they shop,” said Sears chief marketing officer
Monica Woo. “During the busy holiday season when family time and budgets are
stretched, it’s even more important for us to give our customers more time to
shop and better value for their money.”

The national poll, conducted by Wakefield Research, also
found that more than 83 percent of respondents who shop during off hours do so
to avoid crowds. Additionally, nearly half (46 percent) are motivated to shop
these extended hours for better customer service while 36 percent go for
promotional deals and prices.

Other Sears holiday incentives include a price match-plus
policy that matches competitors’ advertised prices on the same items and gives
customers 10 percent of the difference. Also, if an item purchased from Sears
goes on sale within 14 days of purchase, customers will receive a refund of the

Sears also offers a People’s Pick program in which customers
can vote for products within select categories every Sunday through Tuesday to
determine the items that should go on sale each week. The program, located at

, will continue weekly through
Dec. 24.

In other Sears news, the retailer indicated it will remain
at its Illinois headquarters pending Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s approval of new
legislation that will provide some $275 million in tax incentives over 15

According to the Chicago Tribune, the incentives include tax
credits worth $15 million a year for 10 years that Sears can use against
withheld employee income taxes, and an extension of a special taxing district
that will reduce the company’s local property tax bill for another 15 years,
amounting to about $125 million in property tax savings.

This is the second package for Sears, which won nearly $250
million in incentives about 20 years ago to stay in Illinois, the newspaper

“While this legislation still must be signed by Gov. Quinn,
this is an important day in our company’s history,” Sears Holdings
president/CEO Lou D’Ambrosio said in a statement.  “Clearly state leaders recognize our impact
on the state of Illinois and have taken the step necessary to keep Sears
Holdings an Illinois company.”