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Utah liquor stores have had a hard time hanging on to workers, with nearly three out of four leaving to take another job in 2014, the division's director told legislators Monday.

"As the economy in Utah has improved, our turnover rates have gone up," said Sal Petilos, director of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Petilos said the agency has tried to address some of the concerns by increasing pay for the liquor-store workers from $8.60 an hour to $9 an hour. He said he is looking at other ways to retain employees, as well.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, said she is "probably one of the few people in this room who frequents" the liquor stores, but she notices that there are different people working the counters each time she goes.

Petilos told the committee that liquor sales have increased 31 percent since 2010, from $279 million to $367 million last year. Legislators are considering a $500,000 cut to the DABC budget, which Petilos said could be absorbed by the agency without forcing any stores to close.

Twitter: @Robert Gehrke