American discount store Marshalls opened in Toronto on Thursday, welcoming hoards of shoppers. The Leaside location was packed during lunch hour, with white and blue balloons suspended from racks of discounted designer clothing, shoes and toys. Two other locations also opened, one in Scarborough and one in Woodbridge.

Marshalls is owned by The TJX Companies, Inc. which also owns Winners, HomeSense and T.J. Maxx. The store, similar to Winners, carries brand-name goods at discounted prices.

Marshalls is the first in an influx of U.S. retailers to Canada this year. Other companies with plans to open stores here include J. Crew, Kohl’s and Target. They will be joining high-profile recent entrants such as Brooks Brothers and Crate & Barrel.

The new stores will mean increased competition in the retail sector, said Maureen Atkinson, an analyst with J.C. Williams Group.

“It really means that our competitive environment is going to get a lot more fierce,” she said.

“Everybody’s going to have to up their game in order to not be left in the backwater.”