New York — Wal-Mart, already Canada’s biggest retailer, wasted little time in cementing that title after its rival, Target, retreated back to the U.S.

The company is buying 13 former Target stores and one distribution center and said it will hire 3,400 new employees. It is spending $290 million to buy and renovate the stores and said that will created 1,500 construction jobs.

Target closed the last of its 133 Canadian stores in April after a rough two-year venture into the country and laid off more than 17,000 people.

A number of retailers have struggled in Canada because of regulatory pressures and competition. Big Lots Inc. and Best Buy Co. have both closed stores in Canada. Sony Corp. is closing all of its 14 stores.

Sears sold most of its stake in its Canadian unit, but asked former Target employees in January to apply for jobs at Sears Canada Inc.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has 395 Canadian stores and has expanded further on Target’s withdrawal.

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