Coles Supermarkets

Coles Supermarkets
Coles Supermarkets Australia
Pty Ltd
Type Subsidiary
Industry Retail
Founded 1914
Headquarters Hawthorn East, Victoria,
Number of locations 741 (including 45 BI-LO Supermarkets)[1]
Key people Ian McLeod
Managing Director
Revenue increaseA$32.07 billion (2011)[2]
Operating income increaseA$1.17 billion (2011)[2]
Total assets A$19.08 billion
Employees 100,000+
Parent Wesfarmers

Coles Supermarkets is an Australian supermarket chain owned by Wesfarmers. It has 741 stores nationally (including 45 BI-LO Supermarkets that also stock Coles private label brands[1] and more than 100,000 employees.[3] Coles currently has the second-largest market share behind Woolworths Supermarkets.[4]



Coles was founded by George James (G.J.) Coles when what was called the "Coles Variety Store" opened on 9 April 1914 in Smith Street in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. Expansion to more stores occurred and the chain was regarded as leaders in providing value to Australian shoppers (G. J. Coles learned the retail trade working for his father's "Coles Store" business at Wilmot, Tasmania between 1910 and 1913).

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.[5]

An entrance to a Coles supermarket in Dee Why, New South Wales.
Inside a Coles supermarket in Berwick, Victoria.
An aisle in a Coles supermarket in Glenfield Park

In 1960 the first supermarket 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.[6] In 1991 the stores were rebranded Coles Supermarkets and from 1998 simply as Coles.

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. 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

In 2008, the I Test For Coles Panel (or Coles Mums' Panel) began, with 2,500 panelists testing Coles brand products in their home and providing general feedback about Coles.[11]

In February 2011, Coles acquired National Australia Bank's 50 per cent interest in Australia's largest loyalty program FlyBuys, giving it 100% ownership.[12]

In September 2011, Coles commenced stocking private label clothing in their stores with several stores receiving refits to accommodate the range.[13]

Market share

Coles has approximately 35% of the Australian grocery and liquor market, behind Woolworths Supermarkets, who control 40%.[4]

Advertising and branding

Coles original slogan was "nothing over 2/6", when it was primarily operating variety stores. The slogan "You'll find the best value is at Coles New World" was used in the 1980s. The red/orange orb was used from 1991 to 2005. "Serving you better" was used as a slogan from 1998 to 2003, replaced by "save everyday", endorsed by actress Lisa McCune. A circled tick was used as a logo device from 2003 to 2007, replacing the orb as a primary device in 2005[citation needed]. "Save everyday" was later changed to the grammatically-correct "save every day".[citation needed] In 2007, that slogan and circle tick were discontinued with simply the Coles name used in preparation for a new red ball logo to match proposed Coles Group livery, which was shelved later in the year as the business was sold. A number of tag lines were employed in the next few years: "Something better every day", "Proudly Australian since 1914" (introduced with its TV sponsorship of the 2008 Summer Olympics),[14] "Cutting the cost of your shopping" and "It all counts".[15] Its current slogan is "Quality food costs less at Coles".

In 2010, Coles launched a new slogan, "Down Down, Prices Are Down", featuring a large red cartoon hand pointing downwards to symbolise the chain's low price policy. The slogan incorporates the tune of "Down Down", a 1975 hit by British rockers Status Quo.[16] In 2011, the campaign was revised to the fit the tune of Petula Clark's 1964 hit "Downtown".[17]

In the 1960s Coles sponsored a general knowledge quiz show, Coles £3000 Question (later Coles $6000 Question and Coles $7000 Question) which aired on channel 7.[6]

Notable promotions

A fuel discount voucher
  • 4c-per-litre fuel offer: Spend $30 or more in a single transaction at either Coles, BI-LO, Pick'n'Pay Hypermarkets or Liquorland to receive a 4c discount coupon at the end of the receipt for use at Coles Express service stations. The offer extends to 6c-per-litre if you also spend $2 or more in-store at Coles Express in the one transaction. This practice has been criticised by competition law experts who argue that people pay higher petrol and grocery prices to fund these discounts.[18]
Giant Gift Card Giveaway.png
  • Between 1991 and 1993, Coles Supermarkets ran a promotion in conjunction with Apple Computer and 12 major suppliers entitled "Apples for Students", where students collected grocery dockets and returned them to their participating school, and once a certain value had been reached the school would be provided with a free Macintosh computer. 70% of Australia's schools and kindergartens participated and gained more than 25,000 computers, equipment and software worth $13.6 million.[19]
  • A Giant Gift Card Giveaway ran from May to July 2009. FlyBuys members earned gift card entitlements and the chance to win cash prizes (10 x $100,000) over the promotion period. The gift card component of the offer was extended to October.[20]
  • In 2010, Coles Supermarkets ran a program called "Sports for Schools" which customers collected dockets to hand in to their school in exchange for sports equipment.[21] The program was ran again in 2011.[21]

Private label brands

Coles has five levels of generic or private label brands:

  • Coles

A mid-price line, replacing the You'll love Coles brand.

  • Coles $mart Buy

A budget label covering household essentials.

  • Coles Finest

A premium brand,[22] replacing the proposed George J Coles brand

  • Coles Green Choice

An environment responsible range, with a donation being made to Clean Up Australia with everyone of its products sold[23]

  • Coles Organic

A range of products grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, approved by official certified organisations[24]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Wesfarmers 2011 Forth Quarter and Full-Year Sales Results". 28 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "2011 Full Year Results".,%202011%20Full-Year%20Results.pdf. Retrieved 18 August 2011. >
  3. ^ "Company Information". Coles Supermarkets. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  4. ^ a b "Red spot special: Coles up for sale". Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2008-07-25. 
  5. ^ "Coles Myer Limited". Encyclopedia of Business. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  6. ^ a b "Coles". eMelbourne - The Encyclopaedia of Melbourne Online. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "Coles Supermarket Sales Drop". Sydney Morning Herald. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  8. ^ "Coles sold for $22 billion". Herald Sun, Melbourne. 2007-07-02. Archived from the original on 2007-07-06.,23636,22003301-14334,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  9. ^ "Wesfarmers plans Coles investment, restructuring". Reuters. 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  10. ^ "UK retailer to head up Coles". Sydney Morning Herald. 2008-02-07. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  11. ^ "Coles Mums Panel". Coles. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  12. ^ "Coles buys out FlyBuys". Inside Retailing. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  13. ^ Collier, Karen (25 August 2011). "Coles fashion line revealed". Melbourne: Herald Sun. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  14. ^ Downes, Stephen (2008-08-12). "Coles and Red Rooster lead Olympics cash in". Crikey. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  15. ^ "Plan to replace axed shopping site". The Australian. 2009-06-29.,28124,25704942-5017996,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-01. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Woolworths sees shake-up in discretionary retail". Business Spectator. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Collier, Karen (6 July 2011). "Coles' annoying 'Down Down' jingle here to stay". Herald-Sun. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  18. ^ Janda, Michael (16 October 2009). "Coles withdraws petrol discount at ACCC's behest". ABC news. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  19. ^ Noric Dilanchian (2002-06-24). "Developing and Protecting Brands and Trade Marks in Globalising Markets". Intellectual Property: Protection, Enforcement & Commercialisation 4th Annual National Conference, IES Conferences.,com_docman/task,doc_download/gid,13/Itemid,57/.. Retrieved 2007-08-23. 
  20. ^ "Turn your shopping into a Coles Gift Card worth up to $100 – or even higher!". Coles Supermarkets. 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  21. ^ a b . Coles Supermarkets. 2010-08-01. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  22. ^ Urban, Rebecca (2006-10-28). "Coles gets moving on house brands". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  23. ^
  24. ^

External links

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