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Old Navy Clothing Co. will open its fourth Buffalo area store in the Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence.

As The Buffalo News reported in March, the Simon Debartolo Group, which owns the mall, has been in talks with The Gap subsidiary about locating a store there.

The Simon Debartolo firm confirmed Tuesday that work will get under way this week on an 18,000-square-foot Old Navy store across from Lane Bryant in the J.C. Penney concourse. The new store will open in mid-October. Old Navy, which specializes in stylish, value-priced clothing for the entire family, has stores in the Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga and T.J. Maxx Plaza in Amherst.

The company recently debuted an outlet store in the Niagara International Factory Outlets in the Town of Niagara, and has discussed locating a store in the Shops at West Seneca. Jamestown's Chautauqua Mall, which is also owned by the Simon Debartolo Group, is also slated to add Old Navy to its roster.

The addition of Old Navy is the latest in a string of promising new tenants signed to what has been a struggling retail complex. Eastern Hills, which was once considered the area's top shopping destination, has seen a number of retailers pull up stakes as a result of retail industry consolidation and stiff competition from the Walden Galleria, which debuted in 1989.

A major replacement tenant, Burlington Coat Factory, is set to open its 80,000-square-foot store at Eastern Hills this Friday. Burlington is taking space created by the exit of Jenss Department Store, which closed its two-level store in 1997.

In the past year the mall has also lost Wacamaw, a home accessories superstore, and Bombay Co., a home furnishings store. However, newcomers Landmark Furniture and George & Co. have helped to fill the void.

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