Illinois Offers $33 Million to Sears: Illinois has offered $33 million to Sears, Roebuck & Co. to keep its retail headquarters in the state it has called home for more than 100 years. Sears has said it will announce by the end of the month whether its 6,000-employee Merchandise Group will remain in Illinois. Speculation for a new site has focused on an area west of Chicago, Dallas, and Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C. The Merchandise Group, which has a $411 million annual payroll and produces about $19.4 million a year in state and local taxes, is being moved from Sears Tower to cut costs; the company is also selling the skyscraper. Gov. James R. Thompson signed legislation earmarking $33 million to Sears' incentive package. The money could be used for land, site improvements or infrastructure at any Illinois site. Chicago already has offered unspecified incentives to Sears.