CORPORATE MOVES: Bright Lights, Big Exodus

Bright Lights, Big Exodus

Many companies cherish their place in the urban skyline, but quite a few others want to escape the high rents and downtown hassles. Sears said last week it will move the company's merchandising division, which has 6,000 employees, from the landmark Sears Tower in Chicago's Loop to a planned office complex in suburban Hoffman Estates (pop. 44,761). Dozens of cities and states had been trying to lure Sears, but Illinois and Hoffman Estates prevailed with a package of incentives worth $241 million.

Only a day later, Manhattan-based Merrill Lynch said it plans to move 2,500 of its 13,000 workers across the...

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