April 2, 2005 in Business

Sears plans ‘mass layoff’ in Illinois

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Kaylin Wilson of Milford, N.H. sets up children’s clothes in a K-Mart in Nashua, N.H.
(Full-size photo)

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holding Corp. plans a “mass layoff” of 250 workers at its headquarters in this Chicago suburb, according to a report filed with the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The state defines a mass layoff as 250 or more full-time employees or at least 25 employees if they make up at least one-third of the employer’s work force. According to a 2004 state law, employers with at least 75 full-time workers must give 60 days notice to workers and the state of mass layoffs or a plant closing.

Sears Holding, which was created last week through a $12.3 billion acquisition of Sears, Roebuck and Co. by Troy, Mich.-based Kmart Holding Corp., filed the report this week. The notice was posted on the department’s Web site Thursday.

Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite declined to comment on the filing and said it has not been determined how many people will lose their jobs. But the commerce department’s Web site says 250 workers would be affected at the company’s headquarters.

Sears has said some layoffs will be announced by the end of April from among the 5,000 people working at the headquarters, but the vast majority of the work force of 400,000 will keep their jobs and the company will maintain a corporate presence in Michigan.

Brathwaite confirmed a Detroit Free Press report earlier this week that Sears planned to cut pay and benefits for its work force. He said most of the changes to benefits packages would take place in early 2006 but could not confirm the timing of pay cuts.

The buyout, which created the third-biggest U.S. retailer based on sales, should save $500 million over the next three years, Sears has said.

Shares of Sears Holding rose $2.22, or 1.7 percent, to close at $135.39 in Friday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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