23rd September 2022

G. J. Coles: 1914 onwards

Although we now know Coles and Woolworths (and previously Safeway; absorbed into Woolworth in 2008) as supermarkets, they were originally variety stores. The move into food retailing occurred during the post WW2 years, but the selling of household items such as haberdashery continues to this day. They now sell Korbond brand haberdashery. Korbond Industries Pty. Ltd. is an Australian firm, founded in Sydney in 1956, specialising in the manufacture and distribution of haberdashery.

The Herald (Melbourne), 5th October 1922 page 22. Detail from 1922 sale, showing haberdashery items.

The Herald (Melbourne), 3rd May 1923.

Labor Call (Melbourne), 19th September 1935 page 9.

In 1936 G. J. Coles reported that although they originally spent 50 percent on overseas goods, by that year 80 percent of the goods sold in their stores were of Australian manufacture, principally from Melbourne and Sydney.

The Herald (Melbourne), 21st August 1940 page 5.

Trade restrictions during the war were challenging for firms such as Coles. There were restrictions on importation, the introduction of rationing in 1942, as well as restrictions on the manufacturing of civilian goods.

The Age (Melbourne), 24th August 1944 page 4.

The following year there were still shortages of staff and imported goods, as well as problems with logistics.



For Embassy branded buttons, see http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/australian-button-history/g-j-coles-embassy-brand-1929-1994/

The home brand “Embassy” first appeared on gramophone records in 1929, with the number of items increasing from 1947 onwards. Other home brands included Starlet for cosmetics, Amassador for menswear and Farmland for food.

Part of a large advertisement for the opening of a new Coles store, in The Herald (Melbourne), 29th August 1929 page 13.

The Bulletin, 1st September 1973, page 65.

The Telegraph (Brisbane), 29th January 1947 page 6. The word ‘Embassy’ appears below the map of Australia.

The Canberra Times 6th December 1956 page 15. Alternative “Embassy Logo”.

The Canberra Times, 27th March 1958 page 11. Showing alternate artwork for the Embassy label.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, 25th November 1959 page 83. The word ‘Embassy’ inside the map of Australia seems to date from 1959. This lasted until 1970.

From a 1972 advert.

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