TORONTO -- Two heavyweights in Canada's retail furniture business are joining forces to push back against American rivals that are muscling in on their turf.

Leon's is buying The Brick in a friendly, 700-million dollar takeover, but will -- if the deal goes through -- operate the two under separate banners.

The chains are facing tough new competition from American retail behemoths Target and Walmart, both of which plan to open dozens of stores across Canada in the coming months.

Leon's C-E-O Terry Leon says buying The Brick will strengthen Leon's position in the marketplace.

The deal also comes at a time when tough economic conditions are expected to take a heavy toll on furniture sales.

Leon's is paying $5.40 per share for Brick stock, which closed Friday at $3.50 a share.