Publix Faces Increasing Sales, Expansions North
By Anna Rose Welch, executive editor
Company opening new stores in North Carolina, increasing presence in supermarket industry
Publix reported $7 billion in sales for its 2013 third quarter, a 5.6 percent increase from Q3’12 when sales amounted to $6.7 billion. In addition, Publix comparable-store sales increased 4.1 percent in Q3’13 and have risen 3.4 percent for the first nine months of the fiscal year. While net earnings saw a decrease this quarter, Publix sales for the first nine months were $21.6 billion, a 5.2 percent increase from last year’s $20.5 billion, suggesting the company is experiencing a stronger fiscal year so far.
CEO Ed Crenshaw cites the company’s “premier customer service” as the primary reason for the company’s successes, calling attention to the 33 percent increase in Publix stock price over the last year. As of November 1st, 2013, Publix stock increased from $27.55 per share to $30 per share.
The company, which currently has 1,076 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee, recently announced it would be expanding into the state of North Carolina in the next year. Stores will be located in Winston-Salem, Cornelius, Ballantyne, Cary, Ashville, and Greater Charlotte. This move is the company’s latest attempts to “put on the boxing gloves” and increase competition in the market, says Ray Collins, president of Collins Commercial Properties in Winston-Salem. Collins says that the 10-county area of Charlotte has the highest population densities and highest income, making this a valuable area for Publix should it wish to continue achieving the sales volume it has observed in the Florida markets.
In particular, the company looks to compete with Whole Foods, Harris Teeter stores, and Trader Joes, as Publix paid “a very handsome price” to be located in close proximity to each of these retailers in Winston-Salem.
Publix not only anticipates these expansions over the next few years, it also aims to make some changes in order to improve the core business and remain focused on providing excellent customer service. In 2001, the company began testing PIX, the fuel/c-store concept. However, the company recently announced its plans to sell 14 PIX locations to Circle K Stores and Max Arnold & Sons in order to refocus on its core supermarket operations. Considering the future expansions planned in North Carolina and increases in the third quarter, the company is well on its way to becoming even more competitive in the market.