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First-quarter 2022 net sales surged by 13.5% and comparable-store sales by 11.7%, Publix reported.

Publix starts off fiscal 2022 with strong Q1 sales

Grocery veteran Chris Litz to retire later this month

Publix Super Markets tallied double-digit growth in both net and comparable sales for its fiscal 2022 first quarter, building on prior-year gains.

Publix said Monday that, for the quarter ended March 26, net sales came in at $13.2 billion, up 13.5% from $11.7 billion in the fiscal 2021, when the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer reported a 3.9% increase atop pandemic-fueled double-digit growth a year earlier. Same-store sales in the 2022 quarter climbed 11.7% year over year, combining with the 2021 quarter’s 2.4% uptick for 14.1% comp-sales growth on a two-year stack.

At the bottom line, first-quarter 2022 net income totaled $618 million, or 90 cents per share, down 58.7% from $1.5 billion, or $2.16 per share, in the 2021 quarter. Publix noted that, excluding net unrealized losses on equity securities in 2022 and net unrealized gains in 2021, net earnings for the 2022 quarter would have risen 15.5% to $1.05 billion, or $1.54 per share, from $909.8 million, or $1.32 per share, in the 2021 quarter.

Publix enacted a 5-for-1 stock split at the close of business on April 14, which adjusted the share price from $68.80 to $13.76 per share. As of May 1, the stock price stood at $14.91 per share, the grocery store chain said. An employee-owned company, Publix doesn’t publicly trade its shares, which are available for sale only to current Publix associates and board members.

“After two years of the difficult pandemic, we are delighted to share the news of a stock split and now a stock price increase,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a statement. “This good news is the result of the efforts of our associate owners and their dedication to serving our customers, communities and each other.”

Publix closed out the 2022 first quarter with 1,294 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, up from 1,269 a year earlier.

Publix grocery veteran Chris Litz to retire

In other news on Monday, Publix said Chris Litz, vice president of product business development for meat, seafood, bakery and grocery refrigerated and frozen, is slated to retire on May 31 after 35 years of service at the company. He has served in his current role since 2021.

“Over the years, Chris has led and supported strategic efforts to improve our operations and service to our customers,” Publix President Kevin Murphy stated. “We appreciate his efforts and dedicated service to our company.”

Litz started his Publix career in 1987 as a stock clerk in Sarasota, Fla. After serving in various positions, he was promoted to store manager in 1995 and then to district manager in 2000. In 2007, he was appointed director of nonperishable warehousing and in 2011 returned to the retail side as a regional director. Litz was elevated to vice president of fresh product business development in 2016 before assuming his current role last year.

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