Publix Triumphs Over Hurricanes With Q3 Sales Rise

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Publix Triumphs Over Hurricanes With Q3 Sales Rise

11/01/2018
Publix Triumphs Over Hurricanes With Q3 Sales Rise Quarterly Financials
Publix managed to boost its Q3 sales despite two hurricanes wreaking havoc in its market area

Despite adverse weather affecting its market area, Publix Super Markets enjoyed stronger sales during the third quarter of its fiscal 2018. 

The grocer posted sales for the three months ended Sept. 29 of $8.8 billion, a 3.2 percent increase from the $8.5 billion logged in 2017, while comparable-store sales for the three months ended Sept. 29 edged up 0.6 percent.

“In the last six weeks, many of our associates and customers have faced difficult times with Hurricanes Florence and Michael,” noted Publix CEO and President Todd Jones. “I’m proud of our associates for their extra efforts and pleased with our team’s results.”

A previous storm did take its toll, however. Publix estimated that the sales increase for the three months ended Sept. 29 compared with last year was 3.1 percent lower because of the impact of Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Excluding Irma’s impact, sales for the three months ended Sept. 29 would have increased 6.3 percent and comps would have grown 3.7 percent.

The grocer’s net earnings for the three months ended Sept. 29 came to $677.7 million, versus $474.9 million in 2017, a 42.7 percent increase. Earnings per share for the three months ended Sept. 29 rose to 94 cents, from 63 cents last year. According to Publix, its net earnings and earnings per share were positively impacted by the decrease in the federal statutory income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent effective in 2018 following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Net earnings and earnings per share also were affected by a new accounting standard requiring equity securities be measured at fair value, with net unrealized gains and losses from changes in the fair value recognized in earnings. Excluding the impact of the new accounting standard, net earnings would have been $582 million, a 22.6 percent rise, and earnings per share would have been 80 cents, for the three months ended Sept. 29.

Publix’s sales for the nine months ended Sept. 29 were $26.8 billion, increasing 4.7 percent from the $25.6 billion reported in 2017. Comps for the nine months ended Sept. 29 grew 2.5 percent. The grocer estimated that the sales rise for this period compared with the year-ago period was 1 percent lower because of the impact of Hurricane Irma. Excluding Irma’s effect, sales for the nine months ended Sept. 29 would have risen 5.7 percent and comps would have increased 3.5 percent.

Net earnings for the nine months ended Sept. 29 were $2 billion, from $1.5 billion in 2017, a 29.4 percent increase. Earnings per share for the nine months ended Sept. 29 rose to $2.71, up from $2.01 last year. Both net earnings and earnings per share for this period were positively affected by the Tax Act, as well as by the aforementioned new accounting standard. Excluding the impact of the new accounting standard, net earnings would have been $1.9 billion, a 21.8 percent increase, and earnings per share would have been $2.55 for the nine months ended Sept. 29.

Privately owned and operated by its more than 195,000 employees, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix has 1,207 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The company is No. 5 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

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