Friday, December 16, 2011

Was Sears really interested in coming to Ohio?

THIS WAS THE WEEK that afforded Gov. Kasich the oportunity to do the Zorba dance about Sears not moving to Ohio. You may be aware that Zorba had a habit of trying to help folks in distress and when he failed he would burst into a raspy laugh and, when the spirit moved him, dance away his defeat.

So there was Kasich rising to his failed moment of trying to lure Sears with a $400 million tax break and then boasting about the state's effort, although one might assume that Sears never intended to move from Illinois in the first place. But it gave Kasich plenty of room to boast. Besides, he described the effort as "very exciting."

This sort of thing is habit forming and reminds one of his claim to have stopped Bob Evans restaurants from pulling out of the state although there were other published reports that the sausage place had no intention of leaving. From what I've seen from market analysts, Sears has been trending downward while its competitors like Home Depot, Lowe's and Wal-Mart have been moving upward. One analyst, Seeking Alpha, even urged its readers to dump the Sears stock.

If the trend continues, Ohio might have been spared the defeat of hosting a declining company. And the Illinois lawmakers who chose to offer Sears hundreds of millions in incentives will now have to figure out - as some of them are now conceding: What will they do to handle the dozens of other companies that will head to the Springfield capital seeking plum deals?

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