Coles Supermarkets is an Australian supermarket chain owned by Wesfarmers (formerly Coles Group before its acquisition on 23 November 2007). With over 740 stores nationally and more than 92,000 employees, Coles currently has second-largest market share behind Woolworths Supermarkets.
In 1960, the first supermarket was opened in Melbourne suburb Balwyn North and by 1973 Coles had established stores in all Australian capital cities.
For many years, stores were badged "Coles New World" until they were renamed Coles Supermarkets in 1991 and given the trademark "orb" logo. This was replaced with the "circled tick logo" in 2005, having first appeared as a secondary logo in 2003.
From mid 2006, many BI-LO supermarkets were re-badged as Coles Supermarkets. Newmart supermarkets, under which BI-LO traded in Western Australia, were re-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.
Coles reported very poor a trading result for the 13 weeks to April 29, 2007, sparking criticism from many commentators. The failure of the rebadging of BI-LO stores to Coles was blamed in part for the poor results, and a general public consensus that it is cheaper to shop at rival Woolworths. The conversion program was put on hold at Easter 2007.
On 2nd July 2007, Western Australian based company Wesfarmers agreed to purchase Coles Group Limited for AU$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 2007, that slogan, the circle tick and use of Lisa McCune ceased, with simply the Coles name in the new logo and no slogan at all, in preparation for an entirely new "circular" logo to match the Coles Group brand identity,which was shelved in 2007. Coles chose to remove the "Save Everyday" slogan and employed slogan "Something better every day". In August 2008, the tag line "Proudly Australian since 1914" was introduced.
By 2006, 1,600 private label products had been introduced under the two cheaper brands. Some adverse commentary was made about the loss of choice on supermarket shelves as private label brands started to dominate.
Internal departments are organised along lines similar to Coles’ Australian competitors, structured into logical groupings such as service, dairy, bakery, delicatessen, fresh produce, grocery, meat, liquor, general merchandise and apparel and overhead. Many stores have their own bake house. Meat rooms (complete with onsite butchers) still operate in Western Australia and some older stores elsewhere. Liquor departments only exist in stores with 'Coles Liquor', as opposed to Liquorland. Liquorland stores operate with their own store manager and staff.