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03/02/2020

Publix Keeps Setting Sales, Profit Records

Gina Acosta
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Publix Keeps Setting Sales, Profit Records
Shoppers have been lining up at grocery stores such as Publix stocking up on hand sanitizer, water and other essentials amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Publix doesn't need a sales boost from fears over a pandemic to post record-breaking increases in revenue and profits.

The Lakeland, Fla.-based grocery chain said its fiscal 2019 sales were a record $38.1 billion, a 5.6% increase from $36.1 billion in 2018. Same-store sales for the fiscal year increased 3.6%. Net earnings for the fiscal year were a record $3 billion, compared to $2.4 billion in 2018, an increase of 26.2%. Earnings per share for the fiscal year increased to $4.21 per share, up from $3.28 per share in 2018. 

Revenue for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28 was $9.8 billion, a 5.1% increase from $9.3 billion in 2018. Same-store sales for the quarter increased 3.6%.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter were $789.3 million, compared to $407 million in 2018, an increase of 94%. Earnings per share for the period increased to $1.11 per share, up from 57 cents per share in 2018. Net earnings and earnings per share were impacted by net unrealized gains and losses on equity securities.

The impressive results prompted the company to increase its stock price from $47.10 per share to $48.90 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.

“I'm delighted we had another increase in our stock price,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “I'm proud of our Publix associates for continuing to make us a leader in our industry and providing legendary customer service.”

Shoppers have been lining up at grocery stores such as Publix stocking up on hand sanitizer, water and other essentials amid the coronavirus outbreak. Analysts say retailers can expect to see a boost in earnings in the next fiscal quarter as a result of sales from coronavirus fears.

Meanwhile, Publix is planning to keep accelerating its growth plans by building a refrigerated distribution center in Greensboro, N.C., that will deliver to Publix locations in the Carolinas and Virginia. The 940,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 and to cost $400 million. 

“The Greensboro distribution center will play a key role in supporting our growth in the region,” Jones said. “The hundreds of new associates who join the Publix family will help us provide the premier service our customers have come to expect.”

The facility will add up to 1,000 jobs to the area by 2025. 

Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix operates more than 1,200 grocery stores in seven southeastern states. The company is No. 5 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

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