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Mervyns closing 2 Utah sites

Midvale store and W.V. distribution center to shut

Deseret Morning News graphic

Mervyns LLC announced Wednesday that it will close its Midvale retail store and a distribution center located in West Valley City, eliminating 92 full-time and 129 part-time jobs.

The Utah closings are part of a nationwide restructuring in which 62 underperforming stores will close across eight states, according to a company press release. Most of the store closures will occur in the Midwest and South. Approximately 1,200 full-time and 3,600 part-time positions will be eliminated.

The closings are expected to occur by February 2006.

Mervyns, based in Hayward, Calif., said it will offer job placement assistance and severance packages to eligible employees.

The closings are part of a new business strategy designed to focus attention on Mervyns' high-growth West and Southwest markets, the company said.

"We've determined that some of our real estate markets are just not the right place for us to be," said Vanessa Castanga, Mervyns' executive chairwoman. "We would like to focus our time, our capital, our people and all of our resources around the markets where we think we can be important. Certainly Utah is one of those key markets."

The Mervyns store located in Crossroads Plaza in downtown Salt Lake City will remain open through the mall's expected renovation, Castanga said. She said new store openings are envisioned in Utah going forward, but she offered no details as to where or when.

The clothing and housewares chain said it will continue to operate seven other department stores along the Wasatch Front and plans to increase its investment in its existing locations, including stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and parts of Colorado and Texas.

By February 2006, Mervyns said it will exit the Michigan and Oklahoma markets, as well as parts of Colorado, Louisiana and Texas. It also will close stores in California and Oregon.

"The stores identified for closure have not been profitable in several years," the company said in a prepared statement, "and although they comprise approximately 25 percent of all Mervyns' stores, they represent only 17 percent of total sales."

Stores slated for closure will continue operating through this fall and the holiday shopping season. After the restructuring, Mervyns will operate 193 stores in 10 states.

In 2004, Mervyns reported $3.4 billion in sales, down 7 percent from the previous year.