Target is giving up on its money-losing foray into Canada after just two years, closing 133 stores and cutting loose more than 17,000 employees. The department store chain said it didn't see how it could stop losing money before at least 2021 on its first international expansion. The closing links Target with a series of other retailers who have learned the hard way that the northern border is tough to cross. During a call with investors on Thursday, CEO Brian Cornell, who took the helm last August and has been charged with turning around the company, described the decision as "very tough". Cracking the Canadian retail market, about one-tenth the size of the US and right next door, looks simple. Target's difficulties show it's not. There are costly regulations. In addition, most Canadians live near the US border, compare prices religiously and are willing to shop in the US to save money. There's also increasing competition. Canadian standbys like Dollarama and Canadian Tire are formidable rivals. And Wal-Mart, already the biggest retailer in Canada, cuts prices to fend off Target. Other retailers have had similar problems in Canada. Also on Thursday, Sony said it was closing all 14 of its stores in Canada.