Sears Extending Store Hours, Will Stay In Illinois

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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 difference.

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 years.

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 reported.

"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."


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