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Is Publix Encroaching on Kroger Turf?

Southeast grocer signs lease for its 1st supermarket in Greater Cincinnati
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Publix Louisville Rendering
A rendering of Publix's first store in Kentucky, which is scheduled to open in Louisville in January.

Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets has signed a lease in Northern Kentucky, as reported by Cincinnati Business Courier. It will open a 55,701-square-foot store at the southwest corner of Triple Crown Boulevard and Richwood Road in the Richwood area, an approximately 25-minute drive from downtown Cincinnati.  

Traditionally viewed as a Southeast regional grocer, Publix expects its new store – its northernmost location – to open in 2025. It will include a Publix liquor center adjacent to the supermarket that will sell beer, wine and spirits.

The store will be Publix’s sixth planned in Kentucky but its first foray into downtown Cincinnati-based Kroger’s home market. Kroger operates approximately 30 stores in the Cincinnati area. 

When asked if the company has plans for additional stores in the region, a Publix representative said, "While we are proud to continue our growth across the Bluegrass State and share the Publix difference with more Kentuckians, we do not currently have any other plans to share at this time."

Publix will open its first Kentucky store in Louisville on Jan. 10. The location will officially mark the grocer’s entry into its eighth state of operation.

As it expands its footprint, Publix is also growing profits. The regional grocer recently reported its net earnings during the third quarter surged 111.4% on a year-over-year basis to reach $833 million. Earnings per share (EPS) more than doubled, increasing to 25 cents per share from 12 cents per share last year.

In August, the retailer made public its plans to build a $50 million technology campus near its headquarters in downtown Lakeland as it looks to ramp up its focus on omnichannel options for customers.

This past summer, the company opened 11 locations throughout Florida and Georgia and revealed a forthcoming second location in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia in early 2025, with a 48,387-square-foot store planned for the city of Chesapeake. Additional stores in the cities of Suffolk and Virginia Beach are currently in the pipeline. 

Meanwhile, Kroger is expanding its presence in Central Ohio for the first time since 2009 with the addition of a Kroger Marketplace location in the Columbus suburb of Plain City. Kroger officially broke ground on the 123,000-square-foot store on Nov. 9, with the location expected to open by the end of 2024.

Employee-owned and -operated Publix currently has more than 1,300 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. The company is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century and among the Best Regional Grocery Chains in America. Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100 and was also named to its Retailers of the Century list.  

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