Coles Catalogue Wednesday 10 June – Tue 16 June 2020
Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Coles, is an Australian supermarket, retail and consumer services chain, headquartered in Melbourne as part of the Coles Group.
Founded in 1914 in Collingwood, Melbourne by George Coles, Coles operates 807] supermarkets throughout Australia, including several now re-branded BI-LO Supermarkets. Coles has over 100,000 employees and, together with rival Woolworths, accounts for more than 80 per cent of the Australian market.
Coles Online is the company’s online shopping (‘click & collect’ and home delivery) service.
Between 1986 and 2006, Coles Supermarkets was a brand of Coles Myer Limited, later Coles Group Limited, prior to Wesfarmers purchasing Coles Group in 2007. It became a subsidiary of Coles Group again after Wesfamers spun-off the business in November 2018.
George James (G. J.) Coles learned the retail trade working for his father’s ‘Coles Store’ business from 1910 to 1913. (The store continued operating as “The Original Coles” at Wilmot, Tasmania until it was destroyed by a fire on 24 January 2014.) Coles itself was founded when G. J. Coles opened the ‘Coles Variety Store’ on 9 April 1914 on Smith Street in the Melbourne, Victoria suburb of Collingwood. Further expansion occurred and Coles’ interest in food retailing was spurred in 1958 when it acquired 54 John Connell Dickins grocery stores. It then acquired the Beilby’s chain in South Australia in 1959 and 265 Matthews Thompson grocery stores in New South Wales in 1960.
In 1960, the first supermarket (trading under the Dickins name) was opened in the Melbourne suburb Balwyn North, at the corner of Burke and Doncaster Roads where a modernised version continues to operate. By 1973, Coles had established stores in all Australian capital cities. From 1962, its supermarkets were branded Coles New World with accompanying rocket imagery.In 1991, the stores were rebranded Coles Supermarkets and from 1998, simply as Coles.
In 2004, the liquor division office (“Coles Liquor Group”), was moved from Chullora in Sydney to the company head office in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With Coles Myer CEO John Fletcher citing the move for better efficiency between the food and liquor departments. It also resulted in Craig Watkins (35-year veteran and director of Coles Liquor) retiring from the company.
From mid 2006, many BI-LO supermarkets were badged as Coles Supermarkets. Newmart supermarkets, under which BI-LO traded in Western Australia, were badged as Coles Supermarkets in 2002–2003.
Coles Bentleigh still sports the Newmart Fitout in 2017.
Newmart stores co-located with Coles in the same area or shopping centre were sold to Foodland and re branded as the now-defunct Action Supermarkets chain. The conversion program was put on hold at Easter 2007.On 2 July 2007, Western Australian based company Wesfarmers agreed to purchase Coles Group Limited for A$22 billion. The purchase was completed in early 2008.
In August 2007, as Wesfarmers foreshadowed its plans for the restructuring of Coles Group following its anticipated takeover, it stated that one of three planned divisions would comprise supermarkets, liquor and convenience stores.
In February 2008, Wesfarmers appointed UK retailer Ian McLeod as managing director of Coles Supermarkets plus liquor, fuel and convenience businesses. McLeod’s previously headed UK car parts and cycle retailer Halfords and gained supermarket experience with Asda and Wal-Mart.
In February 2011, Coles acquired National Australia Bank’s 50 per cent interest in Australia’s largest loyalty program flybuys, giving it 100% ownership.In September 2011, Coles commenced stocking private-label clothing in their stores with several stores receiving refits to accommodate the range.
In 2014, John Durkan was appointed the new managing director.
In 2018 Wesfarmers announced its intention to demerge the Coles business, seeking to retain only a 20% interest going forward.
In 2018, Steven Cain was appointed as CEO of the Coles Supermarket brand as part of the demerger of Coles from Wesfarmers.
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