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Publix comps up 2.2% in Q4

Sales, earnings benefit from extra week

Publix Super Markets on Wednesday posted gains in sales, comps and earnings during its fiscal fourth quarter.

The Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer said sales for the 14-week quarter ending Dec. 31 totaled $9.1 billion, an increase of 11.1% from the 13-week fourth quarter last year, or 3.7% when adjusted for the extra week. Comparable store sales for the period improved by 2.2%.

Net earnings of $544.5 million increased by 4.5%, while earnings per share increased to 71 cents from 68 cents. Publix said earnings and earnings per share in the quarter benefitted from the extra week but did not quantify the benefit.

For the 53-week fiscal year, sales of $34 billion increased by 5.1% from the 52-week prior year, or 3.5% when adjusted for the extra week. Comps for the year improved by 1.9%, driven primarily by increases in product costs and customer counts, Publix said.

Net earnings of $2 billion for the year increased by 3% and benefitted from the extra week. Net earnings as a percent of sales of 6%, was down from 6.1% last year.

Effective Wednesday, Publix’s stock price increased from $40.15 per share to $40.90 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 proud of our Publix associates — the owners of Publix — for continuing to make us a leader in our industry and providing a great shopping experience,” Todd Jones, president and CEO of Publix, said in a statement.

Publix operates 1,143 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina.

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