Our Company


Indigo Timeline
1940

Brothers Carl and Jack Cole open the first Coles Store in Toronto. Coles goes on to expand across Canada, including opening The World's Biggest Bookstore, the original book superstore, in downtown Toronto.

1950

W.H. Smith, a U.K. company, opens in Toronto.

1989

W.H. Smith becomes Canadian-owned and changes its name to SmithBooks.

1994

Pathfinder Capital acquires SmithBooks.

1995

SmithBooks and Coles merge to form Chapters Inc. Chapters grows to become the largest book retailer in Canada, operating bookstores in all provinces.

1996

Indigo Books & Music is born. Bringing Indigo to life was the culmination of a lifelong passion for books and music created by booklovers, for booklovers. It was conceived as a booklover's cultural department store and aims to consistently provide the most inspiring, richly stocked and inviting retail environment in the world.

1997

Indigo opens its first store, called Indigo Books Music & more, in Burlington, Ontario. Indigo instantly becomes a place that reflects the best of a small proprietor-run shop bundled with the selection of a true emporium.

1999

Chapters Online becomes a publicly traded company, separate from Chapters Inc.

2000

Indigo expands to 14 locations across Canada and opens its online store, indigo.ca

Trilogy Retail Enterprises L.P. announces its intent to purchase a controlling interest in Chapters Inc.

2001

Chapters and Indigo officially merge to form the largest book retailer in Canada under the corporate name Indigo Books & Music Inc.

The Company’s website and online store, //chapters.indigo.ca, is created.

2003

Indigo makes music available online and ready to ship within 24 hours.

2004

Indigo establishes the Love of Reading Fund (now the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation), a charitable initiative dedicated to enhancing literacy and self-esteem in students, promoting learning opportunities, and supporting teachers and students in high-needs schools across Canada by providing new books and resources.

Indigo launches the Junior Advisory Board, a team of Canada's best and brightest young readers, to provide their opinions on what youth want to read.

2006

Indigo ranks as one of Canada's top 100 employers according to a MediaCorp survey published in Maclean's magazine.

Indigo opens a new award-winning store in Brossard, Québec. This new concept store is the largest bilingual bookstore in the Montréal area and features thematic boutiques to allow booklovers to easily identify each section.

Indigo expands its product listing to include toys, and opens new in-store toy departments at Yorkdale and Bayview Village locations in Toronto.

2008

Indigo launches the Indigo Online Community, boasting membership of over 275,000 booklovers in the first year and winning gold at the Canadian Marketing Awards for Social Media.

//Chapters.indigo.ca is named as one of the Hot 100 Internet Websites in 2008 by Internet Retailer magazine.

2009

Indigo spins off its digital eReading division to form Kobo Inc., a global eReading company now operating in over 100 countries.

2010

Six superstores open across the country in Surrey, BC; Calgary, AB (2 new locations); Edmonton, AB; Milton, ON; and Laval, QC, providing book, toy and gift lovers with award-winning havens in their communities.

Indigo expands its IndigoKids departments in 30 locations, furthering its goals to position Indigo as the ultimate family-friendly destination and the largest specialty toy retailer in Canada. Total expanded IndigoKids sections reach 54 locations across Canada.

Kobo launches its first eReader in the spring and releases a Wi-Fi enabled eReader in the fall, allowing booklovers to download eBooks on the go.

2011

Indigo launches its free, points based plum rewards loyalty program. The program rewards members for their purchases with unique experiences, personal recommendations and points redeemable for in-store savings. Within six months of its launch, loyalty membership approaches two million. Visit indigo.ca/plumrewards for more details.

Indigo transforms 25 of its superstores with new fixtures and increased square footage to showcase its home and fashion accessory categories. The Company also remains committed to expanding its proprietary product development capability, which primarily includes home, paper merchandise, and fashion accessories.

The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation grants another $1.5 million to high-needs elementary schools across Canada, bringing total donations through the Literacy Fund program to more than $10.5 million. Visit loveofreading.org for more information.

By January 2011, Kobo sells approximately two million readers in over 100 countries. Over the course of the year, Kobo grows its market to seven million readers. Indigo successfully introduces its third generation eReader, the Kobo Touch, in June 2011. Subsequently, Wired Magazine names the Kobo Touch the best eReader in the world.

Later in 2011, Japanese internet giant Rakuten approaches Indigo with interest in acquiring 100 per cent of Kobo. After careful consideration, Indigo agrees to go through with the transaction, believing the move to be in the best interest of the Kobo team and the entire Indigo family.

2012

On January 11, 2012, Indigo concludes the sale of Kobo to Rakuten for US$ 315 million. Indigo receives cash proceeds of US$146 million on a 24-month investment of $32 million.

Indigo is named the top Canadian retail employer brand by Randstad Canada, and continues to rank highly on rankings of top brands in Canada.

Indigo continues to adapt and improve its physical stores to support its growth categories. The Company continues to expand its assortment of toys and games by operating dedicated toy sections within 95 of its superstores, and showcasing expanded toy selections in all other superstores.

The plum rewards loyalty program reaches 5.8 million members.

2013

As Indigo’s physical store transforms, so too does its website. A redesign of the //chapters.indigo.ca online store includes a focus on new areas of growth, from paper and toys to gift products such as home and fashion accessories. A simplified checkout experience, enhanced mobile experience, comprehensive gift finder, and innovative drag and drop capability further eases the process of online shopping. Social media integration, including Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, are prioritized as well.

Indigo also launches the free “buy online, ship to store” option, which allows customers to purchase items online and pick up later in-store, without paying the additional cost of shipping.

Indigo makes a meaningful financial commitment to accelerate their transformation. 37 Indigotech™ shops launch, and enhanced book and lifestyle merchandising is undertaken in the large format stores.

Investment is made on the digital side of Indigo’s business, expanding both digital marketing and merchandising capabilities, while a five-star rated mobile app launches for Apple and Android.

2014

Indigo launches three American Girl® shops within IndigoKids in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa stores, reinforcing the Company’s commitment to serve as the leading specialty kids’ book and toy retailer in the country.

Indigo continues to support the tremendous work of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, which, since its inception in 2004, has provided more than $15 million in books and funds to 170 high-needs schools across Canada.

Dedicated to telling stories and creating experiences, Indigo continues to enrich the lives of its customers with books, eBooks, specialty toys, gifts and lifestyle enhancing products that offer quality, beauty and timeless design at its 247 stores nationally and online at indigo.ca. Books remain at the core of Indigo's business as Canada's largest purveyor of ideas and inspiration.