Franklins was founded in 1941 in Sydney and went through many changes of ownership over the next six decades. Since 2001, the chain had only existed in New South Wales. In 2010, all Franklins stores were sold to Metcash for A$215 million, to become part of the IGA chain.
Franklins was founded in Sydney by Frank Lindstrom and labelled itself “Australia’s original discount grocer”. In 1959 the self-service chain was bought by the caterers Sargents Ltd., with directors Harold Cornock and Norman Tieck. They subsequently sold the business to Hong Kong based Dairy Farm International.
In 1978, the chain launched its “No Frills” brand – the first generic brand in the Australian market. Through the 1980s, Franklins expanded beyond Sydney, opening stores throughout New South Wales as well as in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT. In the 1990s, a range of store formats appeared, with stores branded No Frills, Mini Fresh, Fresh and Big Fresh.
The diversification of store types and the push into fresh foods was not successful. As a result, in 2001, the group was broken up. Parcels of stores were sold off to various bidders – including Woolworths and Coles. At that time, 86 stores across New South Wales were acquired by South African retailer Pick ‘n Pay, which also bought the Franklins name. Pick ‘n Pay acquired and re-branded 20 Fresco supermarkets as Franklins.
When Metcash bought the chain in 2010 they also acquired the rights to the No Frills brand, which was relaunched in IGA stores in 2012.