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Sales up slightly, but earnings dip in 2Q for Publix

Publix Super Markets said Monday that weakening tourism and the shift of Easter sales to the prior quarter contributed modest sales and a small dip in earnings in the fiscal second quarter, while heightened promotional activity resulted in lower gross margins.

The Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer said sales for the period, which ended June 25, totaled $8.1 billion, a 2.1% increase from last year’s $8 billion. Comparable-store sales for the second quarter of 2016 increased 1.1%. The company estimated that sales were negatively impacted by 1.2% due to the effect of the Easter holiday falling in the first quarter this year, vs. the second quarter last year.

Net earnings of $478.2 million, decreased by 0.9%. Earnings per share were unchanged at 62 cents. Gross profit as a percent of sales totaled 27.6% vs. 28.1% for the same period last year, reflecting heavier promotional and pricing activity, Publix said.

“Our results were impacted by weakening tourism in some market areas and the timing of Easter,” Publix CEO and President Todd Jones said in a statement. “Our associates remain focused on providing excellent customer service.”

Publix’s sales for the first half of 2016 were $16.8 billion, a 3.3% increase. Comparable-store sales for the first half of 2016 increased by 2.2%.

Effective Monday, Publix’s stock price decreased from $43.95 per share to $41.90 per share, the company said. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.

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