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.
W.H. Smith, a U.K. company, opens in Toronto.
W.H. Smith becomes Canadian-owned and changes its name to SmithBooks.
Pathfinder Capital acquires SmithBooks.
SmithBooks and Coles merge to form Chapters Inc. Chapters grows to become the largest book retailer in Canada, operating bookstores in all provinces.
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.
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.
Chapters Online becomes a publicly traded company, separate from Chapters Inc.
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.
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.
Indigo makes music available online and ready to ship within 24 hours.
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.
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.
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.
Indigo spins off its digital eReading division to form Kobo Inc., a global eReading company now operating in over 100 countries.
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.
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 $10.5 million. Visit loveofreading.org for more information.
By January 2011, Kobo sells approximately two million readers in over 100 countries. Over the course of the year, Kobo grows its market to seven million readers. Indigo successfully introduces its third generation eReader, the Kobo Touch, in June 2011. Subsequently, Wired Magazine names the Kobo Touch the best eReader in the world.
Later in 2011, Japanese internet giant Rakuten approaches Indigo with interest in acquiring 100 per cent of Kobo. After careful consideration, Indigo agrees to go through with the transaction, believing the move to be in the best interest of the Kobo team and the entire Indigo family.
On January 11, 2012, Indigo concludes the sale of Kobo to Rakuten for US$ 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.
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.
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.
Following eight consecutive quarters of growth, Indigo is named Top Canadian Retailer in the Randstad Awards for most attractive retail employer, the most attractive employer for women, the most attractive employer for people aged 18-24, and the employer with the most attractive work environment nationwide.
Indigo launches expanded IndigoKids departments and unveils American Girl specialty boutiques at three store locations across Canada: Indigo CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Chapters CF Chinook Centre and Chapters West Edmonton Mall. Indigo remains the exclusive retailer of American Girl in Canada.
Together with Indigo customers and employees, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation celebrates contributing more than $22.5 million to high-needs elementary school libraries across Canada. As a result of programs like the Indigo Literacy Fund Grant and Indigo Adopt a School, more than 700,000 children from coast-to-coast are able to enjoy new books and educational resources in their school libraries.
Indigo opens the world’s first cultural department store at CF Sherway Gardens. The 30,000 square foot location contains more than 90,000 unique book titles, an expansive IndigoKids section with built-in American Girl® specialty boutique, and a cross-section of shops-within-a-shop, all merchandised to inspire and delight. With books at its core, the new Indigo CF Sherway Gardens reflects the culmination of Indigo’s transformation from bookstore to cultural department store for booklovers.
For the second year in a row, Indigo is named top Canadian retail employer brand by Randstad Canada. Indigo also ranks first in offering a pleasant working atmosphere for employees.
Indigo strengthens its social media presence, securing more than 500,000 followers in Facebook; 130,000 followers on Twitter; and 100,000 followers on Instagram.
Committed to a future in which all Canadian children are richly literate, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation dedicates an additional $1.5 million in new grants to 25 high-needs elementary 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 212 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.
Indigo is named Top Retail Employer Brand in the Randstad Award for the second year, and ranks as one of Canada’s Top 10 Most Trusted Brands in the Gustavson Brand Trust Index.
In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, Indigo releases it first-ever coffee table book, The World Needs More Canada. Indigo’s definitive celebration of what it means to be Canadian in 2017, The World Needs More Canada is full of insights and anecdotes from more than 100 Canadian culture makers, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Drake, Margaret Atwood, and Céline Dion.
The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation launches Read Between the Lines, a 35-minute documentary that shines light on the chronic underfunding of high-needs elementary schools in Canada. To view the documentary, visit loveofreading.org.
The new Indigo CF Sherway Gardens is recognized at the 2017 Retail Design Institute International Store Design Awards.
Indigo opens its first U.S. location at The Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, New Jersey. This opening is part of Indigo’s broader retail transformation strategy in which the Company is investing in its network, bringing to life the vision of a cultural department store for booklovers. In 2018, the Company opened five net new stores including Indigo Robson in Vancouver, and the renovation and rebranding of nine stores across Canada.
For the 7th year, the Company is ranked in the Top 20 Retail Employer Brands by the Randstad Awards.
The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation commits $1.5 million to 30 high-needs elementary schools that lack the resources to build and maintain healthy school libraries. The Adopt a School program raises over $1.1 million for 600 high-needs elementary schools across Canada. Since inception, the Foundation has committed $29 million to over 3,000 schools impacting over 900,000 children.
Indigo launches the new IndigoBaby Registry. To take the guesswork out of what expectant parents need for their new arrival, the IndigoBaby Registry offers a curated selection of the top baby must-haves and the best baby brands.
Indigo launches plum PLUS. As an annual fee-based program, plum PLUS offers free shipping, member discounts, and exclusive offers as incremental benefits to the redeemable points offered on almost all products purchased.
Indigo announced the opening of its new IndigoBaby shop located at Indigo CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto, Ontario. Following the successful launch of the IndigoBaby Gift Registry earlier in the year, Indigo launched this new concept as the ultimate destination for expectant parents and gift givers of newborns.
Indigo launched www.thoughtfull.co, a gifting site dedicated to helping customers find unique and meaningful gifts. Thoughtfull™ provides a last-minute gifting solution with digitally fulfilled delivery for its assortment of giftable experiences, services, and subscriptions.
Expanded the Calgary distribution center to better serve online customers in Western Canada and launched a new product information management system to provide the foundation for an enhanced digital experience.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented nation-wide school closures, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation committed $1.0 million to provide books to families in need through its Community Response Fund.
Indigo pledged to donate 1% of the annual net proceeds from the sale of every children’s book purchased at Indigo to supporting children in high-needs communities across Canada.
Indigo launched its proprietary brand, OUI™, which delivers thoughtfully designed living solutions that make room for life. The breadth of offering from the OUI™ portfolio ranges across sleep and bedding, storage and organization, sustainable living, and functional kitchen categories.
The Company launched an express pick-up checkout solution, which allows customers to order online and pick up their order in store within the same day.
The Company also launched curbside pick-up to allow for contact-less sales transactions and commenced a partnership with Instacart where customers can have their orders delivered in less than two hours in the markets that Instacart services. This partnership with Instacart brings rapid delivery of top books, toys, decor and gifts to Indigo customers from coast to coast.
Indigo is a company where connectedness and belonging are inherent in its corporate culture and the Company uses its platforms with the intention to amplify the voices of diverse communities. The Company laid the groundwork for diversity awareness and allyship through a governance structure consisting of an employee diversity council, a dedicated DE&I lead, an executive sponsor and prioritizing diversity at the Board level. A partnership with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (“CCDI”) continues to support Indigo’s efforts towards greater inclusion and equity in the workplace.
In October 2020, the Company became the first major Canadian retailer to sign the “15 Percent Pledge”, committing to increase its representation of books written by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (“BIPOC”) authors and BIPOC owned third-party brands for its lifestyle business to a benchmark of 15 percent.
Indigo is committed to moving quickly and with determination towards a sustainable future. The Company announced its commitment to have net-zero emissions by 2035. Last year, the Company kicked off “Write The Future – Indigo Sustainability Initiative,” with a full assessment of its operational carbon footprint and a number of immediately implementable actions. It is now in the process of completing a full assessment of emissions from its products. The Company’s full net-zero baseline and annual targets will be released in October 2021.
In February 2021, the Company signed the BlackNorth Initiative Pledge to take action to end systemic anti-Black racism. Actions and goals outlined in the Pledge being implemented or planned include engaging the Black community and delivering unconscious bias and anti-racism training.
Indigo’s podcast titled Well Said launched, connecting customers to the trusted voices in well-being to hear meaningful conversations about the art and science of living well to help them live with purpose and intention.
IndigoKids and IndigoBaby launched its first-ever local business program called Mini Marché. A program highlighting and supporting small, local Canadian businesses with an opportunity to be featured in a dedicated ‘shop-in-shop’ experience featured on indigo.ca and select Indigo and Chapters locations. The Mini Marché casting call invited and gave priority to innovative and unique brands who identified under any of the following criteria – women-owned, BIPOC-owned, LGBTQ2+-owned, environmentally friendly and philanthropic.
Indigo introduced its proprietary brand Nóta™, a new collection of notebooks and journals, made from FSC-certified paper and recycled materials. The assortment is rounded out by responsibly designed products ranging across stationary, journals, calendars and gift wrap.