BI-LO is a major Australian supermarket chain owned by Wesfarmers (formerly Coles Group). Most BI-LO supermarkets have been re-branded as Coles Supermarkets, however the conversion was halted in March 2007 due to poor sales at already converted stores.
By 1987, BI-LO was operating 28 supermarkets in South Australia and generating one third of metropolitan Adelaide’s supermarket sales, when it was acquired by Coles Myer, which also purchased the 34-store Shoeys discount supermarket chain in New South Wales (subsequently re-named as BI-LO). BI-LO would later expand into Queensland and Victoria.
In December 1984, BI-LO opened its first Mega Frrresh store at Greenacres, SA, in response to its then chief competitor Franklins "Big Fresh" concept. In 1996, BI-LO acquired six Newmart supermarkets in Western Australia although the Newmart name was retained due to its strong brand identification. In 1998, BI-LO purchased three Northern Territory supermarkets in Darwin and Alice Springs. In 1999, the slogan "Extra Value For You" was launched.
BI-LO/Newmart opened nine new stores and completed 23 refurbishments in 2000, and opened 26 more stores and completed 11 refurbishments in 2001. The last Newmart stores in Western Australia to open before the chain was absorbed into Coles Supermarkets were at Garden City, Booragoon (October 2000) and at the Ocean Keys Shopping Centre in Clarkson, Western Australia (July 2001). The Garden City store became an Action Supermarket, then later became a Woolworths Supermarket. The Ocean Keys store became a Coles Supermarket.
In 2002, BI-LO acquired and converted 15 Franklins sites, in New South Wales (Warilla Grove, Campbelltown - now Coles, Hillsdale - closed 2003, Mt Druitt - closed 2005, Shellharbour, Lavington, Thirroul), Queensland (Kawana, Capalaba, Hope Island, Loganholme), Victoria (Southland, Waverley Gardens - closed 2004, Lalor, Broadmeadows) and South Australia (Unley - closed 2005). Around 820 former Franklins employees were offered positions at BI-LO. BI-LO also opened 7 stores and a Bi-Lo Discount Petrol site at Narrandera, New South Wales. In August of that year, all Newmart Supermarkets operated by BI-LO in Western Australia were transferred to the management of Coles Supermarkets. In 2004, BI-LO relaunched with the slogan "Why Pay More".
In July 2006 Coles Myer CEO John Fletcher announced a strategy to progressively rebrand BI-LO, Kmart, First Choice Liquor, Liquorland and Theo's under the Coles banner. Re-branding BI-LO stores began later in 2006 and had been expected to be completed by mid 2007. A small number of stores were to be re-branded Coles Discount Grocery where a Coles Supermarket already exists in the same complex (for example, at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre. Some stores, such as BI-LO Arkaba in South Australia, were originally Coles Supermarkets before being converted to BI-LO in the late 1990s.
Coles Group announced in March 2007 it was "pausing" the conversion of BI-LO stores to Coles, following the poor results of the 129 stores converted thus far.
BI-LO has a strong emphasis on fresh foods, combined with an extensive range of groceries at discount prices. At its peak it had more than 180 stores and employed 13,600 people. BI-LO has its own brand of discount products and participated in many store promotions such as FlyBuys and petrol saving clubs. Its mascot is the "BI-LO Docket" and previously had stores in Western Australia trading under the name Newmart until 2002 when they were sold to and re-branded as Coles supermarkets.
In 2006, Coles Group announced its plan to re-brand all Coles Group businesses (excluding Target and Officeworks) under the Coles name. BI-LO stores were to be converted to Coles Supermarkets, with others changing to other Coles Group businesses or closing. Coles planned to keep many BI-LO lines in its converted stores, with Coles various home brands replacing some but not all of the BI-LO brand lines.
However, Coles Group announced in March 2007 it was "pausing" the conversion of BI-LO stores to Coles, following the poor results of the 129 stores converted thus far. Market analysts commented that the conversion program was unsuccessful due to Coles' transforming of stores in affluent areas first, the replacement of BI-LO's budget items with more expensive equivalents, and the removal of trademark budget meat packs. The BI-LO stores remaining are mostly located in Queensland and northern New South Wales.
The Newmart chain in Western Australia grew progressively, with nine stores by 1998, 14 by 2000, 16 by 2001, and 18 by 2002. Like BI-LO, Newmart launched the slogan "Extra Value for You" in 1999 and launched its own website which was redirected to the Coles site in 2006.