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.A shopper removes her bags from a shopping cart in the parking lot of a Mississauga Zellers store.J.P. Moczulski

In unusual retail dynamics, Wal-Mart Canada Corp. is picking up as many as 39 Zellers store leases from archrival discounter Target Canada in a move that will help Wal-Mart continue to aggressively expand in this country.

The deal will also help Wal-Mart, a division of the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. , compete with Target when it opens its first stores in Canada by 2013.

Target is coming to Canada through a $1.8-billion agreement it sealed with Zellers' parent company in January to buy the rights to leases of up to 220 Zellers stores. Target intends to convert most of them to the Target banner, eventually launching more than 200 stores in Canada.

Now Target is selling the leases to up to 39 Zellers stores - ones that Target doesn't want - to Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart, with 325 stores in Canada today, has been rapidly adding stores here as well as converting existing outlets to its super-centre concept with full grocery aisles. Wal-Mart arrived in Canada in 1994.

Terms of the latest deal between Wal-Mart and Target Canada, a unit of Target Corp. were not disclosed.