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Influx, expansion of international chains in Canada shows no signs of slowing

TORONTO - When Nelia Belkova moved from the U.S. to Canada, she was initially disappointed that many of her favourite brands were nowhere to be found north of the border.

Less than a decade since the style blogger's arrival, the retail landscape has changed dramatically, and most of the chains Belkova missed - such as Bath and Body Works and Victoria's Secret - have established storefronts in Canada.

Those U.S.-based retailers have plenty of company thanks to a flurry of new arrivals in 2011 vying for the Canadian consumer dollar.

J. Crew, Express, Marshalls and Intermix all flocked north to set up their first bricks-and-mortar locations in Canada. The Hudson's Bay Co. acquired Canadian franchise rights for Topshop and Topman, opening the first location for the British fast-fashion chains in Toronto in October.

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