05/24/2012 01:41 EDT | Updated 07/24/2012 05:12 EDT

Ann Taylor heads north, opens first international stores in Canada

TORONTO - Ann Taylor is heading north of the border as the retail chain opens its first international locations outside the U.S.

The New York-based retailer announced on Thursday it will open two locations in Toronto this fall.

With 274 stores across the U.S., the company says its expansion into Canada marks the first step in growing the brand’s global presence.

"We are pleased by the strong awareness Ann Taylor already enjoys in Canada and look forward to offering our Canadian customers great fashion, quality and value in a new, exciting and aspirational shopping environment," brand president Brian Lynch said in a release.

Michelle Obama, Angelina Jolie and Canada's Rachel McAdams are among the famous faces who have been seen sporting items from the brand, which features a range of classic womenswear including suits, pants, sweaters, skirts and dresses, along with shoes, jewelry and accessories.

Ann Taylor's imminent arrival is the latest in a steadily growing segment of American and international chains who have set up bricks-and-mortar locations in Canada.

J.Crew, Express, Marshalls, Intermix and Tory Burch have all opened their doors 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 last October.

U.S. discount giant Target is poised to launch in Canada next year.