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Company > Coles Group: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Coles Group: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Jul 02, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into Coles Group, a leading Australian retail company, and explore its business model, conduct a SWOT analysis, and identify its key competitors in the year 2023. Coles Group, operating a wide range of supermarkets, liquor stores, and convenience outlets, has established itself as a prominent player in the retail industry. By examining its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, we will gain insights into the company's current standing and future prospects, while also assessing the competitive landscape it operates in.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Coles Group and the significance of its ownership structure.
    • The mission statement of Coles Group and how it guides the company's operations.
    • How Coles Group generates revenue and the key sources of its income.
    • An in-depth explanation of the Coles Group Business Model Canvas and its components.
    • The major competitors of Coles Group and their impact on the market.
    • A comprehensive SWOT analysis of Coles Group, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    Who owns Coles Group?

    Coles Group Ownership: A Closer Look

    Coles Group, one of Australia's leading supermarket chains, has a complex ownership structure that has undergone significant changes over the years. In order to understand who owns Coles Group today, we need to delve into its history.

    Background: From Wesfarmers to Independent Ownership

    Originally established as a division of the Western Australian conglomerate, Wesfarmers, Coles Group was acquired by Wesfarmers in 2007. Under the ownership of Wesfarmers, Coles Group underwent a major transformation, including a rebranding and significant investment in store improvements.

    However, in 2018, Wesfarmers made the decision to spin off Coles Group as a separate entity, allowing it to operate independently. This move was primarily driven by Wesfarmers' desire to focus on its core business operations and unlock greater value for its shareholders.

    Shareholder Structure: Coles Group in the Hands of Investors

    Following the spinoff, Coles Group became a publicly listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). As such, ownership of Coles Group is distributed among various institutional and retail investors who hold shares in the company.

    The largest shareholders of Coles Group include both domestic and international investment funds, as well as individual investors. These shareholders typically hold significant stakes in the company and often have a say in its strategic decisions through voting rights.

    Wesfarmers' Continued Involvement

    Despite the spinoff, Wesfarmers still maintains a stake in Coles Group. This is mainly due to the fact that Wesfarmers distributed a portion of its Coles Group shares to its own shareholders as part of the demerger process. As a result, Wesfarmers remains a significant shareholder and continues to have a vested interest in Coles Group's success.

    Conclusion: A Shared Ownership Structure

    In conclusion, Coles Group is now owned by a diverse range of institutional and retail investors, with Wesfarmers retaining a notable stake. This shared ownership structure ensures that Coles Group is accountable to a wide range of stakeholders and allows for a balanced approach to decision-making.

    It is worth noting that the ownership structure of Coles Group may evolve over time as shares are bought or sold, and new investors enter the picture. However, the company's commitment to delivering value to its customers and shareholders remains steadfast, regardless of its ownership arrangement.

    What is the mission statement of Coles Group?

    Coles Group's Mission Statement: Putting customers first and making life easier for Australians.

    Coles Group is one of Australia's leading retailers, operating in the grocery and retail industry. The company's mission statement reflects its commitment to serving its customers and making their lives easier.

    At the core of Coles Group's mission statement is the focus on putting customers first. The company strives to understand and meet the needs of its customers by providing high-quality products, exceptional customer service, and convenient shopping experiences. Coles Group aims to create a positive and enjoyable experience for every customer who walks through their doors or shops online.

    Moreover, Coles Group's mission statement emphasizes its dedication to making life easier for Australians. The company recognizes that life can be hectic and challenging, and it aims to alleviate some of the stress associated with grocery shopping and daily errands. Coles Group achieves this by offering a wide range of products, competitive prices, and convenient services such as online shopping, home delivery, and click-and-collect options.

    By striving to put customers first and making life easier for Australians, Coles Group aims to build long-term relationships with its customers based on trust, satisfaction, and loyalty. This mission statement serves as a guiding principle for the company's operations, strategies, and decision-making processes.

    In summary, Coles Group's mission statement encompasses its commitment to prioritize customers' needs and provide them with convenient shopping experiences. The company's focus on putting customers first and making life easier for Australians underpins its goal of building strong and lasting relationships with its customers.

    How does Coles Group make money?

    Retail Sales

    The primary source of revenue for Coles Group is through its retail sales. As one of the largest supermarket chains in Australia, Coles operates more than 800 supermarkets across the country. These supermarkets offer a wide range of products, including groceries, fresh produce, household essentials, and various other consumer goods. By selling these products to millions of customers, Coles generates a significant portion of its revenue.

    Liquor Sales

    In addition to its supermarkets, Coles Group also operates liquor stores under the brands Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, and First Choice Liquor. These stores offer a diverse selection of alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, spirits, and ready-to-drink products. Liquor sales contribute to Coles' profits, attracting customers who are looking for a convenient place to purchase their favorite drinks.

    Fuel Sales

    Coles Group has partnered with Shell to provide fuel services at many of its supermarkets. Customers can earn fuel discounts by shopping at Coles supermarkets or purchasing specific products. These discounts can then be redeemed at Coles Express or Shell service stations. Fuel sales not only provide convenience to customers but also contribute to Coles' revenue streams.

    Financial Services

    Another way Coles Group makes money is through its financial services division. Coles offers various financial products, including credit cards, insurance, and personal loans. These services are designed to provide additional value to customers and create another revenue stream for the company. By offering financial products, Coles can diversify its income sources and leverage its customer base.

    Online Sales

    With the increasing popularity of online shopping, Coles has expanded its digital presence and offers online sales through its website and mobile app. Customers can conveniently browse and purchase products from the comfort of their homes, with the option of home delivery or click-and-collect services. Online sales have become an important source of revenue for Coles, especially during times when physical store visits may be limited.

    Partnerships and Collaborations

    Coles Group also generates income through partnerships and collaborations with other companies. For example, Coles has collaborations with popular brands to create exclusive products or offer special promotions. These partnerships not only enhance customer experience but also provide additional revenue opportunities through joint marketing efforts and shared profits.

    In conclusion, Coles Group makes money primarily through its retail sales, including supermarkets, liquor stores, and fuel sales. Additionally, the company generates revenue through its financial services division, online sales, and strategic partnerships. By diversifying its income sources and continuously adapting to changing consumer preferences, Coles Group remains a successful and profitable business in the Australian retail industry.

    Coles Group Business Model Canvas Explained


    The Coles Group is a well-known Australian retail company that operates in the supermarket and retail industry. In this section, we will delve into the Coles Group's business model canvas to gain a deeper understanding of how the company operates and creates value for its customers.

    Key Partnerships

    Coles Group has built strategic partnerships with various entities to support its operations and enhance its offerings. The company collaborates with suppliers to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality products at competitive prices. Additionally, Coles Group has formed partnerships with logistics and distribution companies to ensure efficient and timely delivery of goods to its stores.

    Key Activities

    The key activities of Coles Group revolve around the operation of its supermarkets and retail outlets. These activities include sourcing and procuring products, managing inventory, ensuring store maintenance, and providing customer service. Coles Group also invests in marketing and advertising campaigns to promote its products and attract customers to its stores.

    Key Resources

    Coles Group relies on various key resources to support its operations. One of the most crucial resources is its extensive network of supermarkets and retail outlets spread across Australia. Additionally, Coles Group heavily relies on its workforce, including store employees, logistics personnel, and administrative staff, to ensure smooth operations. The company also leverages technology and information systems to manage inventory, track sales, and analyze customer data.

    Value Proposition

    Coles Group aims to provide customers with a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience. The company offers a wide range of products, including groceries, fresh produce, household items, and general merchandise, catering to diverse customer needs. Coles Group focuses on maintaining competitive prices while ensuring product quality and availability. Additionally, the company invests in customer loyalty programs and innovative services, such as online shopping and home delivery, to enhance customer satisfaction.

    Customer Segments

    Coles Group primarily targets a broad customer base comprising individuals and families who require everyday essentials and groceries. The company caters to different demographics and income levels by offering products at various price points. Coles Group also recognizes the growing demand for organic, healthy, and sustainable products and has expanded its offerings to cater to this segment of environmentally-conscious customers.


    Coles Group employs multiple channels to reach and engage its customers. The most prominent channel is its network of physical stores, where customers can browse, select, and purchase products. The company also operates an online platform that enables customers to shop for groceries and other items from the convenience of their homes. Coles Group utilizes various marketing channels, including digital advertising, print media, and social media, to promote its products and communicate with customers.

    Revenue Streams

    The primary revenue stream for Coles Group is generated through the sale of products in its supermarkets and retail outlets. The company earns revenue from the purchase of groceries, fresh produce, household items, and general merchandise by its customers. Coles Group also generates additional revenue through its online sales and delivery services. Additionally, the company may enter into strategic partnerships or licensing agreements to further diversify its revenue streams.


    By analyzing the Coles Group's business model canvas, we can see how the company strategically positions itself in the supermarket and retail industry. Through its key partnerships, activities, resources, and value proposition, Coles Group aims to provide customers with a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience. With a diverse customer base, multiple channels, and various revenue streams, the company continues to evolve and meet the changing needs of its customers in the Australian market.

    Which companies are the competitors of Coles Group?

    Major Competitors

    Coles Group, one of the largest retail conglomerates in Australia, faces tough competition from several other prominent companies in the retail industry. Here are some of Coles Group's major competitors:

    1. Woolworths Group: As Coles Group's primary competitor, Woolworths Group is a leading Australian supermarket chain. Woolworths operates over 1,000 stores across the country, offering a wide range of groceries, household items, and other consumer products. With a strong presence and a loyal customer base, Woolworths constantly challenges Coles Group's market share.

    2. Aldi: A global discount supermarket chain, Aldi has gained popularity in Australia since its entry into the market in 2001. Known for its low prices and curated selection of products, Aldi has attracted price-conscious consumers away from Coles Group and other traditional supermarket chains. Despite having a smaller number of stores compared to Coles Group and Woolworths, Aldi remains a formidable competitor.

    3. IGA (Independent Grocers of Australia): IGA is a network of independent supermarkets that competes with Coles Group by offering a more localized and community-oriented shopping experience. With a focus on supporting local businesses, IGA stores can be found in various neighborhoods across Australia. While IGA may not have the same scale as Coles Group or Woolworths, its unique positioning appeals to customers seeking a more personalized shopping experience.

    Other Competitors

    In addition to the major competitors mentioned above, Coles Group faces competition from various other players in the retail industry:

    • Costco Wholesale: The American multinational retail corporation Costco operates membership-based warehouse clubs throughout Australia. With its bulk-buying model and competitive pricing, Costco attracts customers who prefer to purchase goods in larger quantities.

    • ALH Group: As one of Australia's largest pub and hotel operators, ALH Group competes with Coles Group's liquor division. ALH Group operates a network of bars, pubs, and bottle shops across the country, offering a wide range of alcoholic beverages.

    • Amazon: Although Amazon is primarily an online marketplace, its entry into the Australian market has had an impact on traditional retailers like Coles Group. With its vast product range, competitive pricing, and convenient delivery options, Amazon poses a threat to Coles Group's online sales and customer acquisition.

    These are just a few examples of the many competitors that Coles Group encounters in the highly competitive Australian retail landscape. Despite the intense rivalry, Coles Group continues to innovate and adapt to changing consumer preferences to maintain its position in the market.

    Coles Group SWOT Analysis


    • Established brand: Coles Group is a well-known and trusted brand in the retail industry in Australia. With a history dating back over a century, it has built a strong reputation for offering quality products and excellent customer service.

    • Extensive store network: Coles Group operates a vast network of stores across Australia, including Coles supermarkets, Coles Express, Liquorland, and First Choice Liquor. This widespread presence allows the company to reach a large customer base and generate significant revenue.

    • Strong supplier relationships: Coles Group has developed strong relationships with a wide range of suppliers, both domestic and international. These partnerships enable the company to secure competitive pricing, ensure a reliable supply of products, and offer a diverse range of options to customers.


    • Dependence on a single market: The majority of Coles Group's revenue comes from the Australian market. This dependence on a single market exposes the company to risks associated with economic downturns, regulatory changes, and shifting consumer preferences within Australia.

    • Limited international presence: Unlike its main competitor Woolworths, Coles Group has limited international operations. This lack of global reach restricts the company's growth opportunities and exposes it to the risk of missing out on potential revenue streams in international markets.

    • Margin pressure: Coles Group operates in a highly competitive industry, where price wars and discounting strategies are common. This intense competition puts pressure on profit margins, as the company needs to continuously offer competitive prices to attract customers.


    • E-commerce growth: The increasing popularity of online shopping presents a significant opportunity for Coles Group. By investing in its e-commerce platform and improving the online shopping experience, the company can tap into the growing trend of customers opting for the convenience of online grocery shopping.

    • Expansion into new product categories: Coles Group can explore opportunities for diversification by expanding into new product categories. By introducing innovative and exclusive products, the company can attract new customer segments and increase revenue streams.

    • Focus on sustainability: With growing consumer awareness and demand for sustainable products, Coles Group can capitalize on this trend by offering a wider range of sustainable and environmentally friendly options. This can not only attract environmentally conscious customers but also enhance the company's reputation as a responsible retailer.


    • Intense competition: The retail industry in Australia is highly competitive, with both local and international players vying for market share. Coles Group faces the threat of losing customers to its competitors, especially if they offer better prices, wider product ranges, or more convenient shopping experiences.

    • Changing consumer preferences: Consumer preferences and buying behaviors are constantly evolving. Coles Group needs to stay attuned to these changes and adapt its offerings accordingly. Failure to do so may result in losing customers to competitors who better cater to evolving consumer needs.

    • Economic uncertainty: Economic fluctuations, such as recessions or financial crises, can have a significant impact on consumer spending habits. Coles Group is vulnerable to changes in disposable income and consumer confidence, as these factors directly influence customer purchasing decisions.

    Key Takeaways

    • Coles Group is a publicly traded company, meaning it is owned by shareholders who hold shares of its stock.
    • The mission statement of Coles Group is to provide quality products and services at affordable prices, while also focusing on sustainability and community engagement.
    • Coles Group primarily makes money through the sale of groceries, liquor, and fuel, both in-store and online.
    • The Coles Group Business Model Canvas is a framework that helps explain how the company creates, delivers, and captures value for its customers and stakeholders.
    • Competitors of Coles Group include Woolworths, Aldi, and IGA, among others, in the Australian retail industry.
    • A SWOT analysis of Coles Group reveals its strengths in brand recognition and customer loyalty, weaknesses in reliance on third-party suppliers, opportunities in expanding its online presence, and threats from intense competition and changing consumer preferences.


    In conclusion, Coles Group is a well-known retail company in Australia. It is owned by Wesfarmers, a conglomerate that operates in various industries. The mission statement of Coles Group is to provide quality products at affordable prices to its customers, while also focusing on sustainability and community involvement.

    Coles Group generates revenue through various channels, primarily through the sale of groceries and household items in its supermarkets. It also operates liquor stores, convenience stores, and online shopping platforms. With a strong focus on customer satisfaction and convenience, Coles Group has been able to expand its market share and increase its profitability.

    Analyzing Coles Group's business model canvas, we can see the key elements that contribute to its success. These include its customer segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key activities, resources, partnerships, and cost structure. By effectively managing these components, Coles Group has been able to create a sustainable and profitable business model.

    However, Coles Group faces competition from other major retail companies in Australia. Woolworths, Aldi, and IGA are some of its main competitors. These companies also offer a wide range of groceries and household products, and they constantly strive to attract customers through competitive pricing, product variety, and innovative marketing strategies.

    Conducting a SWOT analysis of Coles Group reveals its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Coles Group's strengths lie in its strong brand presence, extensive store network, and customer loyalty programs. However, it also faces weaknesses such as intense competition and reliance on suppliers. Opportunities for growth include expanding its online presence and exploring new markets, while threats include economic downturns, changing consumer preferences, and regulatory changes.

    In conclusion, Coles Group is a dominant player in the Australian retail market, driven by its mission to provide quality products at affordable prices. With a strong business model, it continues to generate revenue and expand its market share. However, it must remain vigilant in the face of competition and adapt to changing consumer trends to maintain its position in the industry.


    What is the Coles Group controversy?

    The Coles Group controversy refers to a series of controversies and scandals involving the Australian supermarket chain Coles Group Limited. Some of the major controversies surrounding the company include:

    1. Price-fixing scandal: In 2014, Coles was involved in a price-fixing scandal where it was alleged that the company had engaged in anti-competitive behavior by colluding with suppliers to artificially inflate prices. Coles was fined AUD $10 million by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for its involvement in this illegal activity.

    2. Treatment of suppliers: Coles has faced criticism for its treatment of suppliers, with accusations of bullying and unfair practices. The company has been accused of demanding excessive payments from suppliers, delaying payments, and using its dominant market position to put pressure on suppliers to agree to unfavorable terms.

    3. Exploitation of workers: Coles has also faced allegations of worker exploitation, particularly in its supply chain. The company has been accused of underpaying workers, using illegal labor practices, and engaging in unethical treatment of workers, including migrant workers.

    4. Product labeling and quality issues: Coles has faced complaints regarding the accuracy of product labeling and quality standards. Customers have alleged that products were mislabeled or falsely advertised, and there have been instances where Coles has been forced to recall products due to quality concerns.

    These controversies have attracted significant media attention and have damaged Coles' reputation. The company has taken steps to address some of these issues, but they continue to be a subject of public scrutiny.

    What is the Pestel analysis of Coles group?

    A PESTEL analysis is a framework used to analyze the macro-environmental factors that can impact a business or industry. Here is a PESTEL analysis of Coles Group:

    1. Political Factors:
    • Government regulations and policies: Coles Group is subject to various regulations related to labor laws, food safety, and environmental sustainability.
    • Taxation policies: Changes in taxation policies can impact the profitability of Coles Group.
    1. Economic Factors:
    • Economic conditions: Coles Group's performance is influenced by factors such as GDP growth, inflation rates, and consumer spending.
    • Exchange rates: As Coles Group sources products internationally, fluctuations in exchange rates can impact its costs and profitability.
    1. Sociocultural Factors:
    • Demographic trends: Changes in population demographics, such as aging population or increased immigration, can affect Coles Group's target market and product demand.
    • Consumer preferences and behavior: Coles Group needs to adapt to changing consumer trends, such as increased demand for healthy and sustainable products.
    1. Technological Factors:
    • Technological advancements: Coles Group needs to stay updated with technological changes to remain competitive, such as implementing e-commerce platforms and utilizing data analytics for customer insights.
    • Automation and artificial intelligence: Coles Group can benefit from using automation and AI technologies to improve supply chain efficiency and enhance customer experience.
    1. Environmental Factors:
    • Climate change and sustainability: Coles Group needs to address its environmental impact by implementing sustainable practices, reducing waste, and sourcing products responsibly.
    • Consumer awareness: Growing concern for environmental issues can influence consumer perception and purchasing decisions, requiring Coles Group to offer environmentally friendly products and packaging.
    1. Legal Factors:
    • Employment laws: Coles Group needs to comply with labor laws, including minimum wage, working hours, and occupational health and safety regulations.
    • Competition laws: Coles Group must adhere to competition regulations to prevent anti-competitive behavior and maintain fair market practices.

    It is important to note that this PESTEL analysis provides a general overview and the specific factors affecting Coles Group may vary depending on the industry and location.

    Does Coles have a competitive advantage?

    Coles, one of Australia's largest supermarket chains, does have several competitive advantages that contribute to its success in the market. Some of these advantages include:

    1. Strong market position: Coles has a significant market share and is one of the two dominant supermarket chains in Australia, alongside Woolworths. Its large network of stores and widespread presence gives it a competitive edge.

    2. Wide product range: Coles offers a wide variety of products, including groceries, fresh produce, meat, bakery items, household goods, and clothing. This extensive product range allows Coles to attract a diverse customer base and cater to different needs.

    3. Private label products: Coles has a range of private label products, including Coles brand and Coles Finest, which offer customers quality products at a lower price compared to national brands. This helps Coles differentiate itself and compete on price.

    4. Loyalty program: Coles has a popular loyalty program called Flybuys, which rewards customers for their purchases. This program helps Coles gather customer data, understand their preferences, and tailor offers to enhance customer loyalty.

    5. Online presence: Coles has a strong online presence with its e-commerce platform, which allows customers to order groceries and have them delivered to their homes. This has become increasingly important in the digital age and gives Coles an advantage over competitors who may not offer the same level of convenience.

    6. Supply chain and distribution network: Coles has a well-established supply chain and distribution network that ensures efficient and timely delivery of products to its stores. This enables Coles to maintain a reliable stock of products and meet customer demands effectively.

    Overall, Coles' market position, wide product range, private label products, loyalty program, online presence, and efficient supply chain contribute to its competitive advantage in the supermarket industry.

    What is the competitive strategy of Coles?

    Coles, one of the largest supermarket chains in Australia, has adopted a competitive strategy focused on customer value, differentiation, and cost leadership. Here are some key aspects of Coles' competitive strategy:

    1. Customer Value: Coles aims to provide the best value for customers by offering a wide range of products, competitive prices, quality service, and a seamless shopping experience. They focus on understanding customer needs and preferences and tailoring their offerings accordingly.

    2. Differentiation: Coles differentiates itself through various initiatives such as private label products, which offer both quality and affordability. They also emphasize their fresh food offering, making it a key point of differentiation from competitors. Coles has a strong focus on sustainability, including reducing waste, improving packaging, and promoting responsible sourcing.

    3. Cost Leadership: Coles strives to maintain a cost leadership position by optimizing their supply chain operations, negotiating favorable terms with suppliers, and leveraging economies of scale. This allows them to offer competitive prices to customers while maintaining profitability.

    4. Technological Innovation: Coles has been investing in technology to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency. They have implemented initiatives like self-checkout systems, online shopping, digital loyalty programs, and personalized promotions to stay ahead in the digital age.

    5. Partnership and Collaboration: Coles has formed strategic partnerships with various suppliers and manufacturers to ensure a reliable and efficient supply chain. They work closely with local farmers, growers, and producers to source fresh and high-quality products, supporting Australian agriculture.

    Overall, Coles' competitive strategy revolves around providing excellent customer value, differentiating through product offerings and sustainability initiatives, maintaining cost leadership, leveraging technology, and building strong partnerships.

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