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Goodbye Target, hello Uniqlo! Canada's next player

As one retailer closes the book on its Canadian operations, another is writing its first chapter there.

Japanese-owned specialty store Uniqlo said Monday that it will open two flagship locations in Toronto in fall 2016, its first stores in Canada. It then plans to expand its presence with a shop in Vancouver.

A man carries a shopping bag in a Uniqlo store in Manhattan in New York City
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A man carries a shopping bag in a Uniqlo store in Manhattan in New York City

"Entering the Canadian market is a milestone for the company and a significant step in our growth strategy," said Larry Meyer, CEO of Uniqlo USA and Canada.

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Uniqlo's announcement comes 1½ weeks after Target said it will shutter its 133 Canadian stores, less than two years after entering the market.

After a series of missteps—including opening too many stores too fast, higher prices and bare shelves—CEO Brian Cornell said he was unable to find a scenario that would make Target Canada profitable until at least 2021.

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Uniqlo's Canadian strategy is much more measured than the one used by Target, which included opening more than 100 stores in one year. It's closer in comparison to the more conservative approach by luxury department store Nordstrom, which is opening just six locations there over three years.

Uniqlo has more than 1,500 stores in 16 markets, and is beefing up its presence in the U.S. In the course of a year, the retailer doubled its U.S. store count and now operates 40 here.