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updated: 2/23/2012 5:59 PM

Sears to close six stores in Illinois, more elsewhere

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Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings posted a fourth-quarter loss of $2.4 billion on Thursday, then said it will close 15 additional Sears and Kmart stores and nine Great Indoors, including six stores in Illinois.

Among the stores expected to close are Sears Grand Essentials, 1900 N. Richmond Road in McHenry, and The Great Indoors, 2860 S. Highland Ave. in Lombard.

Other Illinois stores closing are one Sears in Alton and one Kmart each in Oak Lawn, Zion and Peru.

Also, a Sears in Champaign is part of another list of 11 properties nationwide sold to Chicago-based General Growth Properties, which also was announced on Thursday.

Individual stores employ between 40 and 80 workers, the company said. That would mean as many as 560 workers could be affected in Illinois by the changes announced Thursday. Sears spokeswoman Kimberly Freely could not immediately confirm a number of affected workers.

"We continue to evaluate our portfolio," Freely said.

After a dismal shopping season, Sears said in late December that it would close up to 120 stores and included an initial list of 79 stores. That came was just weeks after the state of Illinois offered millions in tax incentives to keep the headquarters and its 6,200 workers in Hoffman Estates. Still, the cuts were not a total surprise since the company said it would cut about $200 million in costs in 2012.

State Sen. Ron Sandack, a Republican from Downers Grove, said Thursday he didn't support the legislation that provided tax incentives to Sears.

"We were selecting a couple of companies for preferential treatment, and it set up a bad precedent," Sandack said in a statement. "Since the vote giving Sears a tax incentive from the state of Illinois, Sears has laid off personnel and closed stores, including a scheduled closure of the store in Lombard. While we can sympathize with the difficulties Sears is facing, the closing of stores defeats the purpose of the legislation and asks whether that was part of the tax incentive deal. It further proves that Illinois needs to get its fiscal house in order and espouse better policy for our business climate."

Last week, Sears said it would cut 100 workers from its headquarters.

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