The 26,000-square-foot store will open in the fall, according to mall owner Kemper Development. The move comes amid a big push by Zara to expand its U.S. footprint.

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Zara, the giant Spanish apparel retailer, is setting up shop at Bellevue Square as it continues padding its U.S. presence.

The 26,000-square-foot, one-level store will open in the fall, according to mall owner Kemper Development.

It will be in part of the former J.C. Penney store at the Bellevue shopping mecca. Trendy Japanese retailer Uniqlo will also open its first Seattle-area location in space emptied by the departed department store.

The new store will come a year and a half after Zara made its first inroads in the Seattle region, with a site at the Westlake Center in downtown Seattle.

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It’s part of a big push for U.S. expansion by Inditex, the group that owns Zara. Based in Galicia, in the northwestern corner of Spain, Inditex became one of world’s largest apparel retailers, with a strong presence in Europe, Asia and Latin America, due to its knack for speedily cranking out trendy, affordable outfits inspired by what’s going on in fashion runways.

But until recently its footprint in North America had been mostly limited to major international shopping destinations such as New York or South Florida. Out of about than 2,000 Zara stores, only 56 are in the U.S.

In January Inditex announced it had bought a $280 million building in New York’s SoHo to create a flagship store there.

This year the retail giant will open about a dozen new Zara stores in Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas, Sacramento, Chicago, Puerto Rico and other locations. The company is also banking big on online shopping here.

“We see clearly that the U.S. is a growth market for us,” said Inditex CEO Pablo Isla in an earnings call in March.

For the so-called Bellevue Collection, the Kemper-owned consortium of shopping destinations that includes Bellevue Square, Bellevue Place and Lincoln Square, the arrival of Zara is a welcome addition amid big expansion work.

Kemper said it’s in talks with other retailers to keep filling the 200,000-square-foot space left behind by J.C. Penney when it closed last November. Uniqlo, also scheduled to open in the fall, will occupy some 13,000 square feet in addition to Zara’s 26,000.

Known as the South Common, the area is being redesigned to accommodate smaller specialty stores.