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40 will lose jobs in Mars closing

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Mars Inc. announced Thursday that it will close its Mars Music store in Salt Lake City within the next couple months, putting about 40 employees out of work.

Mars, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., also is leaving the Southern California, Philadelphia and Denver markets, closing a total of eight stores, the company said in a press release.

"Mars has been going through some financial analysis and looking at stores that have been underperforming relative to our expected financial model," said Michael Yackira, Mars vice president and chief financial officer, in a phone interview Thursday.

"This (Salt Lake store) is one of the eight stores that have been underperforming. . . . (The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11) didn't help the economy and retailers in general. We were forced to make the difficult decision of closing stores that were draining cash from the business."

The Salt Lake store, which offers musical instruments as well as recording and pro audio gear, opened at 389 W. 1830 South in November 1999. Yackira said it probably will take about two months to liquidate the store's inventory and close it down.

"The closure date will depend on how quickly the inventory moves," he said. "With the kind of deals we're going to be giving to musicians, inventory will move very quickly."

Mars will continue to operate 41 stores in 31 markets.

E-MAIL: gkratz@desnews.com