Jewel Food Stores, (better known simply as trading name Jewel) was an Australian discount supermarket and frozen goods chain of 130 stores, now defunct. The company is now owned by Metcash and operates as IGA. The chain was originally owned and operated by the Fleming family. They are not related to the "Jewel" supermarket chain in the United States.
The Fleming family sold their Sydney-based Flemings supermarkets chain to Woolworths Limited in June 1960. They continued operating that chain through Woolworths for the next 10 years before acquiring the 42-store Warmans grocery chain and relaunching it as a discount supermarket under the "Jewel Food Stores" name. Its generic product range was called "No Name".
Jewel was pitched as a low-price supermarket chain similar to Flemings. It was credited with bringing the food barn concept to Australia through the Jewel Food Barn format, which sold dry groceries and frozen foods only. The stores had a downmarket look similar to its major rival Franklins, another discount supermarket chain based and established in Sydney. To a lesser extent, it also competed with the Newcastle-based Shoeys discount supermarkets, later to be taken over by BI-LO from South Australia.
While Jewel found limited success in New South Wales against long-time incumbent Franklins, Jewel entered Victoria a few years before Franklins and found more success there. In the early 1990s, Jewel launched Jewel Country Fresh in response to Franklins and BI-LO launching market-style full-line discount supermarkets. Jewel also acquired the Rainbow supermarket in Doonside, Western Sydney. These formats carried not only dry groceries and frozen foods, but also fresh foods in a market-style environment.
In 1995, Jewel Food Stores Pty Ltd was acquired by Davids Holdings (which later became Metcash Trading Ltd. In 1998 Davids sold its chain of 130 Jewel supermarkets to Independent Retailers for about $100 million. A number of stores closed. The Jewel name disappeared completely when Independent Retailers rationalised their 29 different grocery banners to form one, Independent Grocers of Australia (IGA).
As it was a discount supermarket, Jewel usually only advertised specials in-store, rather than advertise the specials everywhere. However, in 1995, Jewel did have an advertising campaign, emphasising on its low-price positioning. This was in the same year that the Fleming family sold the 130 Jewel supermarkets to what is now Metcash (then Davids).