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Publix Wraps Up Choppy Q3

Strong sales collide with tough earnings environment
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Publix St. Augustine
Publix opened new stores, like this one in St. Augustine, Fla., amid ups and downs in sales and earnings.

Noting that this period has been “a difficult time," Publix Super Markets shared in its third quarter earnings report that it is weathering marketplace cross currents in addition to recently navigating its operations through a destructive hurricane. The Florida-based, employee-owned grocer reported a mixed performance during the three-month period ending Sept. 24.

As the overall consumer price index continued to move higher, Publix disclosed that its third quarter sales reached $13 billion, up 9.2% from the same period in 2021. Comp sales rose 7.6% during the summer and into early fall. Total sales for the first nine months of 2022 closed in on $40 billion for a 10.7% year-over-year gain.

[Read more: "Publix Opens Trio of Florida Stores"]

Meanwhile, Publix’s net earnings for third quarter dropped 54%, down from $856.9 million in 2021 to $394.1 million. The grocer reported that net earnings would have been $808.9 million for the quarter, if the impact of net unrealized losses on equity securities this year and net unrealized gains in equity securities in 2021 were excluded. For the calendar year to date, net earnings came in at $1.6 billion, versus $3.4 billion in 2021.

CEO Todd Jones put the quarter into perspective. “Unfortunately, the stock market continues to be a challenge, but I could not be more proud of Publix’s response to Hurricane Ian,” he declared. “Our associates’ efforts to serve our customers, our communities and each other during this difficult time have been amazing.”

To that end, before and after Hurricane Ian devastated a large swath of neighborhoods in Florida, Publix Super Markets Charities donated $1 million to support relief and recovery efforts through the American Red Cross and United Way and activated a company-side donation campaign. The home-state retailer also distributed thousands of gallons of water and ice to those affected by the storm.

Publix continues to grow its footprint in 2022. In recent weeks, new locations opened in Ocala, Fla., St. Augustine, Fla., Auburn, Ala., Inlet Beach, Fla., Moncks Corner, S.C. and Mobile, Ala., among other communities.

Employee-owned and -operated Publix has close to 1,300 supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Publix is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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