MONTREAL -- Marshalls is opening its first stores in Quebec and Alberta on Thursday, with the two locations in each province and another store in Toronto raising the chain's Canadian store count to 27.

The retailer, whose sister companies include Winners and Homesense in Canada, and T.J. Maxx in the U.S., will open a store in big box centre Dix-30 on the south shore of Montreal and in a similar project in Boisbriand, north of the city.

It will also open two locations in Edmonton -- South Edmonton Common and Manning Drive -- along with Toronto's Dufferin Mall.

Marshalls is among the U.S. retailers that are expanding their presence in Canada. Target is set to open its first of 25 planned stores in Quebec this fall after having already rolled out dozens elsewhere in the country.

Nordstrom is also planning to cross the border in 2015, while Walmart continues to build large-format stores.

Marshalls is owned by TJX Companies, which operates more than 3,000 stores, including 222 Winners and 88 Homesense locations in Canada as of the end of 2012.

The parent company says it believes Canada can support 90 to 100 Marshalls stores in the long term.

Marshalls describes itself as the leading off-price retailer, offering brand-name clothing, accessories and footwear at below department store prices.