TORONTO (Reuters) - Target Corp (TGT.N) will open its first 24 Canadian stores in Ontario in March or early April of 2013, the U.S. discount retailer said on Thursday.
Minneapolis-based Target said last January it would purchase leasehold interests for up to 220 Zellers sites from Hudson's Bay Co for C$1.8 billion ($1.8 billion).
Target plans to open 125 to 135 stores in Canada, its first venture outside the United States. It will compete in a market where many shoppers are already aware of U.S. brands from cross-border shopping trips. Many common retail goods are cheaper in the United States than in Canada.
Target said it would pay about $10 million to remodel each store, and hire 150 to 200 employees for each location.
Target's entry is expected to put pressure on Canadian retailers' margins, especially for grocers.
Companies like Loblaw Co Ltd (L.TO) and Metro Inc MRUa.TO already face tough competition from Wal-Mart Stores, which accelerated its "supercenter" rollout after Target announced its plans for Canada.
Reporting By Allison Martell; Editing by Janet Guttsman