Sales edged up at Publix Super Markets in the fiscal 2021 second quarter despite a difficult comparison to double-digit gains driven by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic a year earlier.
For the quarter ended June 26, sales totaled $11.8 billion, up 3.9% from $11.4 billion in the 2020 quarter, Publix said Monday. Same-store sales rose 2.3% year over year. Those upticks came atop increases of 21.8% in sales and 19.9% in comparable-store sales a year ago, when consumer stockpiling behavior stoked demand in groceries and staple household items.
Fiscal 2021 first-half sales for Publix came in at $23.5 billion, rising 3.9% from $22.6 billion in the first six months of 2020. Comp-store sales grew 2.4%. Last year, when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred in the final few weeks of the first quarter, Publix saw first-half sales climb 18.9%, with same-store sales gaining 17.1%.
“Throughout the pandemic, our associates have continued to provide legendary customer service,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a statement. “I’m so thankful to serve alongside them in making shopping at Publix a pleasure.”
Earnings in the second quarter were down in the wake of big, pandemic-fueled increases from a year ago. Publix posted 2021 second-quarter net income of $1 billion, or $1.46 per share, compared with $1.4 billion, or $1.94 per share, in the prior-year period. Adjusted net earnings, excluding net unrealized gains on equity securities, were $920.3 million, or $1.33 per share, versus $978.3 million, or $1.39 per share, a year earlier, Publix said.
First-half net income for 2021 was $2.5 billion, or $3.62 per share, compared with $2 billion, or $2.89 per share, a year ago. On an adjusted basis, net earnings for the first six months were $1.8 billion, or $2.65 per share, versus $1.9 billion, or $2.74 per share, in 2020 first half.
As of Aug. 1, Publix’s stock price stood at $63.10 per share, up from $61.30 when the company reported first-quarter results on May 3 and from $60.20 at the fiscal 2020 year-end report on March 1. As an employee-owned company, the grocer doesn’t publicly trade its shares, which are available for sale only to Publix associates and board members.
Publix currently operates 1,273 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, up from 1,252 stores a year ago.