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Associated Press, Published January 14 2011

Target to open at least 100 Canadian stores

MINNEAPOLIS – In its first step across U.S. borders, Target Corp. is making a logical foray north.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said Thursday that it plans to open 100 to 150 stores in Canada in a two-year period starting in 2013.

The fast-paced expansion comes courtesy of a

$1.85 billion deal for Target to acquire leasing interests in up to 220 stores in Canada from retailer Zellers Inc., a subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Co. Zellers will lease the stores back and keep its name on the stores for a period of time.

The deal marks the first time Target has made any substantial growth plans since the start of the recession. Last year it opened just 10 stores and this year expects to open 21. That’s down from a roughly 100-stores-a-year pace the company had been on before the economy turned sour.

“This transaction provides an outstanding opportunity for us to extend ... beyond the United States for the first time in our company’s history,” Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chief executive, said in a statement. Target operates 1,752 stores.