Publix Super Markets is expanding its IT operations in its headquarters in Lakeland, Fla., adding hundreds of new positions, according to a local report.
The supermarket operator, which already has some 1,200 IT workers in Lakeland, according to the report on lkldnow.com, is expanding into a former department store building that it acquired in January for $8.6 million. The building, located among a cluster of other Publix office properties, recently had been vacated by FedEx.
The building will provide office space for “hundreds of new high-skill, high-wage jobs with an average annual wage of $130,000,” Steve Scruggs, president of the Lakeland Economic Development Council, was quoted as saying.
The average wage of $130,000 per year is more than double Polk County’s average annual salary, according to Scruggs.
Publix has secured Polk County Business Incentive (PCBI) grants to bring employees to Lakeland, where the retailer also has IT staff in three other downtown office buildings, according to the lkldnow.com report. The PCBI program offers incentives up to $5,000 per job for full-time jobs paying 200% of the average private-sector wage.
In an email exchange with Supermarket News, Scruggs said Publix currently has the largest IT workforce in Lakeland.
It was not immediately clear why the company was adding hundreds of IT positions, although Publix is among the fastest-growing retailers in the country. In its annual 10-K report filed earlier this year, Publix had projected capital expenditures of $2.3 billion for 2023, up from $1.8 billion in 2022. The spending was slated primarily for new supermarkets, remodeling existing supermarkets, construction or expansion of warehouses, new or enhanced information technology hardware, and software and other uses.
A spokesperson for Publix could not be reached for comment.
Publix also owns the nearby Florida Citrus Mutual Building, which the retailer bought for $3.1 million in 2016, but has kept vacant, according to lkldnow.com. Pending city approval, that building could be torn down to create parking for Publix employees, the report said.