SEATTLE - Washington Mutual Inc., the nation's largest thrift, said Thursday that it plans to open at least 40 of its Occasio retail branches in Arizona starting next year.

The Seattle thrift company, which recently began an expansion in Nevada, is using the specially designed branches to expand quickly in new markets without acquisitions. It broke into the southern Nevada retail market this year with 12 Occasio branches and plans to open nine more in the state.

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