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250 Layoffs Expected at Sears

Sears filed a notice with the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity indicating plans for a "mass layoff" at its headquarters.

NEW YORK — At least 250 employees at Sears Holdings Corp. could be let go, the first shakeout from the merger of Sears, Roebuck & Co. with Kmart Holding Corp. last month.

Sears filed a notice with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity last week indicating plans for a “mass layoff” at its headquarters in Hoffman Estates. State law requires a 60-day-notice window before a mass layoff announcement, which is defined, in part, as 250 or more employees. The filing has no impact on Kmart employees who still work at its old headquarters in Troy, Michigan.

A Sears spokesman said the filing does not affect store associates. He didn’t provide any details on when the layoff announcement would take place or which corporate departments would be affected, but there are reports the announcement could happen later this month.

Meanwhile, the Sears’ benefits package for employees has changed. The Sears spokesman said the change only affects the staff at the retailer’s Hoffman Estates headquarters. Sears employees  were sent e-mails a week ago indicating that they would find out next month what those changes will be.

So far, at least two senior-level executives have left Sears. Bill Blass, who was responsible for Sears’ online and catalogue operations and was senior vice president for e-commerce at Lands’ End, is no longer with the firm. Chris Shimojima is the new vice president and general manager of customer direct, according to the Sears spokesman.

Beryl Buley, who was general manager, retail store operations, also has left the company.

In other news, Edward Lampert, the chairman of Sears Holdings, owns a 39.4 percent stake in the merged entity through his investment fund, ESL Investments, according to a regulatory filing.

Shares of Sears Holdings closed on Friday up 1.7 percent to $135.39. The shares flirted with a new 52-week high of $138.75 during intraday trading.