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Publix Marks Milestone

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. &#8212; Publix opened its 1,000th supermarket here last month, marking a long-anticipated milestone for the 79-year-old chain.</p> <p>Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets commemorated the event by donating $1,000 each to eight local schools for the purchase of supplies.</p> <p>&#8220;Being a part of the lives of our customers and associates is as important in our 1,000th store as it was in our first,&#8221; said Todd Jones, president of Publix, in a prepared statement.</p> <p>Although it took Publix 65 years to open its first 500 stores, the second half of its 1,000-store run took only a little more than a decade, for an average of nearly 40 net new stores per year since 1995.</p> <p>It has since opened one additional location, for a total of 1,001, part of a plan to add about 40 new locations again this year, the company said last week.</p> <p>Last year&#8217;s 67-store surge was boosted by the acquisition, announced last June, of 49 Albertsons locations in Florida. Twenty-four of those were reopened as Publix locations last year, and 11 more are scheduled to reopen this year.</p> <p>Publix has the No. 1 market share &#8212; estimated at about 40% &#8212; in Florida, operating 717 of its locations there. Increasingly, however, its growth has included new stores in other Southeastern states, as the company has expanded &#8212; to Georgia in 1991, South Carolina in 1993, Alabama in 1996 and Tennessee in 2002.