Coles Book Stores
Brothers Carl and Jack Cole opened the first Coles store in 1940 in
Toronto. Coles expanded across Canada, bringing an innovative style to
book retailing, with bookstores that were accessible and exciting. Coles
also created the now world-famous Coles Notes student study guides. In
1980, Coles opened one of the original book superstores, the 67,000 square
foot World's Biggest Bookstore, in downtown Toronto.
Under the ownership of Southam Inc., Coles continued to expand throughout
the 1980s and early 1990s, and there are Coles stores in every province in
Canada. In 1994, Southam sold Coles to Pathfinder Capital and in April
1995, Coles and SmithBooks merged to form Chapters Inc.
SmithBooks (then called W.H. Smith) first opened in 1950 in Toronto. The
bookstore chain, a division of the venerable U.K. company, expanded across
Canada, and acquired Classic Bookshops in 1985. In 1989, the company
became Canadian-owned and the name was changed to SmithBooks when it was
purchased by Federal Industries. In 1994, Pathfinder Capital acquired
SmithBooks; in April 1995, SmithBooks and Coles merged to form Chapters
Chapters Online Inc.
Chapters Online Inc. (TSE:COL) is a Canadian e-commerce company that
operates www.chapters.indigo.ca, a leading Canadian destination for online
shoppers seeking books, music, videos and DVDs. Committed to providing a
convenient and hassle-free e-commerce experience, chapters.indigo.ca
offers a secure shopping environment, easy-to-use search tools and
industry leading customer service. Chapters.indigo.ca also supports the
growth of Canada's e-commerce industry operating one of the Internet's
leading affiliate programs for website owners. Chapters Online is the
recipient of the Retail Council of Canada's Excellence in Retailing Award
2000 for its achievements as Canada's leading online retailer.
In September 1999, Chapters Online became a publicly traded company,
separate from Chapters Inc. Chapters Inc. (TSE:CHP), (now Indigo Books
and Music Inc.) retains a majority ownership stake in Chapters Online
and together the companies operate e-commerce kiosks at all Chapters
stores across Canada.
On July 27, 2001, the Special Committee of Chapters Online Inc. (TSE:COL),
headed by Tom Stephenson of Sequoia Capital, agreed in principle to terms
under which Indigo Books and Music Inc. would purchase all outstanding
shares of Chapters Online not already owned by Indigo Books and Music
Inc. on the basis of one Chapters common share for every 7.14 common
shares of Chapters Online. The transaction will result in the issuance of
approximately 758,000 Chapters common shares to the minority shareholders
of Chapters Online.
Indigo Books and Music Inc. has a controlling interest in the Canadian
division of Barnes and Noble College Bookstores, Inc., through Campus
Bookstores. The company has contracts to manage the McGill University
Bookstore in Montreal, Cambrian College in Sudbury and Northern College in
Timmins, and provides services to several other college bookstores. Indigo
also provides textbooks to the Centre for Innovative Management at
Athabasca University, Canada's largest virtual university. The company is
pursuing other college bookstore management contracts.