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SPOKANE, WA-Old Navy has finally docked in Spokane.

Gap Inc., Old Navy’s parent company, has opened a 20,400-sf Old Navy store this week at the Spokane Valley Mall. It is one of four tenants to occupy the facility.

Old Navy counts more than 650 stores in the United States and Canada and is always on the hunt for more space. Founded in 1993, the rapidly growing chain has bypassed Spokane until now. A second area Old Navy store will open at Franklin Park Commons in north Spokane early next year.

Meanwhile, Gap Inc., which in addition to Old Navy also includes the Banana Republic, has struggled financially in the past couple of years.

Even before the tragic Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., Gap shares had dipped at the beginning of September to their lowest price since December 1997 after the San Francisco-based company reported that same-store sales fell 17 percent in August. It was the 16th consecutive monthly drop in sales at stores open more than a year.

With $14 billion in revenue, Gap is the nation’s largest specialty apparel retailer, 40 percent bigger than its closest rival, Limited. Through the years, investors have voiced concern with Gap’s size — whether it was saturating the market and whether its stores were robbing business from each other.

Gap operates 4,024 stores, including Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, GapKids and BabyGap. That’s a 20 percent jump from 3,348 stores a year ago.

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