The first Indigo location opened in Burlington Ontario in 1997, created with the desire to bring a unique cultural destination to the Canadian retail marketplace. Indigo Books & Music Inc. ("Indigo"), as it exists today, was created in August 2001 upon the merger with Chapters Inc. Indigo has evolved to become Canada’s largest book and specialty retailer with locations in all 10 provinces and one territory and also offers an award-winning online experience at indigo.ca. Indigo is now Canada's largest purveyor of ideas and inspirations to enrich your life, with books and eReading, specialty toys, gifts, and lifestyle enhancing products that affordably offer intrinsic quality, beauty and timeless design. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, the Company employs over 6,500 people across Canada. Indigo is a public company, traded on the TSX under the symbol IDG.
As at March 28, 2015 the Company operated 91 superstores under the banners Chapters and Indigo and 127 small format stores, under the banners Coles, Indigo, Indigospirit, SmithBooks, and The Book Company. The Company also operates indigo.ca, a popular online destination offering millions of products including books, eBooks, toys, stationery, home décor, gourmet confections, CDs, DVDs, electronics, and more.
Averaging 24,000 square feet, Indigo's large format stores are designed to be destinations for culture-seekers, offering an inspiring environment conducive to browsing and community-building. Small format stores are typically located in retail shopping centres, street-front retail areas, major airports and central business districts.
Indigo's membership rewards programs include the plum rewards and irewards programs. plum rewards is a free program offering points on almost everything purchased in store and preferred pricing online at indigo.ca. The plum rewards program was created to provide Indigo customers with personalized and inspirational book and product recommendations, promotional offers and VIP experiences. Indigo's irewards program, which offers a 10% discount on books and a 5% discount on most non-book products, for an annual fee of $35, continues to be offered as an alternative to plum rewards.
Connecting with customers is deeply important to Indigo and our successful Online Community boasts more than 275,000 members sharing their passion for books, authors and reading at indigo.ca; the Company's Facebook fan base has grown to more than 240,000.
Committed to reading, regardless of the format, Indigo is Canada's largest book retailer and in 2009, created and launched the global eReading service, Kobo. With one of the largest eReading catalogues in the world, Kobo has since driven its membership to over 6 million readers in 100 countries. In November 2011, after building incredible global awareness and launching a suite of eReading devices designed by booklovers for booklovers, Indigo agreed to the sale of Kobo to Rakuten Inc., one of the world's leading internet service companies, for US$315 million. Indigo received US$146 million from the proceeds of the sale, which closed in January of 2012.
Indigo is a one-stop destination for gifts to touch the heart, mind and soul. The Company continues to develop and expand its proprietary gift and lifestyle merchandise as part of its focus to provide customers with increasingly meaningful and life enriching merchandise while improving operating margins. To support this initiative, Indigo opened a new design office in New York which develops proprietary merchandise exclusively for Indigo and is available both in-store at all large format locations and online at indigo.ca.
In 2009 Indigo began a full expansion of its burgeoning kids and toy business with a focus on books, creative play and specialty toys. By 2011, the Company had award-winning IndigoKids toy stores in 53 of its large format locations with the remaining large format stores showcasing expanded toy offerings. A further expanded assortment of toys, birthday gift ideas and loot bag essentials is also available online at indigo.ca.
Through its Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, the Company is committed to addressing the underfunding of Canadian elementary school libraries and the resulting literacy challenges the children face. The Foundation’s goal is to raise awareness of the lack of funding in Canadian schools and close the budget gap by providing the necessary new books and educational resources. The Foundation accomplishes this goal through its annual Literacy Fund grant of $1.5 million and its grassroots Adopt a School program which unites Indigo staff, local schools and their communities to raise money for new library books. With the support of Indigo, its customers, employees and suppliers, the Foundation has invested over $19.5 million into more than 2,000 elementary schools across Canada since 2004.
In addition to our children’s literacy cause, Indigo hosts in-store and online FUNdraisers to support schools and community groups in their fundraising efforts. Through both in-store events and online campaigns this past year, Indigo has helped more than 438 not-for-profit organizations raise over $139,000.