Publix Super Markets tops the list of privately owned grocery operators in the US. By emphasizing service and a family-friendly image over price, Publix has outgrown and outperformed its regional rivals. More than two-thirds of its 1,124 stores are in Florida, but it also operates in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina (a new market for the company). Publix makes some of its own bakery, deli, dairy goods, and fresh prepared foods at its own manufacturing plants in Florida and Georgia. Also, many stores house pharmacies and banks. Founder George Jenkins began offering stock to Publix employees in 1930. Employees own about 31% of Publix, which is still run by the Jenkins family.
In addition to more than 1,124 supermarkets, Publix operates seven distribution centers in Florida and one in Georgia. The company also has ten manufacturing facilities, including three dairies, two bakeries, and a deli plant. Publix's private label items are produced at its facilities and by suppliers.
Publix has supermarkets located in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
It restocks store shelves from eight distribution centers -- seven in Florida and one in Georgia.
Sales and Marketing
Publix boosted advertising spending to $248.5 million in 2015, up from $30.8 million in 2014 and 2013.
Publix reported sales of $32.6 billion in 2015, an increase of 6% over the prior year. The sales gain, part of a four-year trend, was driven by a rise in same-store sales. Food price inflation and increased customer traffic helped drive same-store sales and reflects the improving economic climate in the regional supermarket operator's markets.
Net income has also been trending up and finished 2015 at $1.97 billion, a 13% increase over the previous year due to higher revenue. Cash from operations also rose, reaching $2.9 million from $2.8 million.
Publix opened 28 supermarkets in 2015, including five in North Carolina, three in South Carolina, three in Alabama, and two in Georgia. The company closed nine under-performing stores during the year.
Publix is facing increased competition from BI-LO Holding, which swallowed Winn-Dixie in 2012 and Sweetbay Supermarket in 2014. It's also squaring off against Harris-Teeter, now owned by Kroger, and supercenter giant Wal-Mart Stores in North Carolina. Kroger acquired Harris-Teeter to increase its presence in the Southeast, Publix's market.
In 2016, the company will open two stores in Virginia.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Publix is buying up shopping centers that house its supermarkets. In October 2014, it acquired seven of the 18 shopping centers it anchors in the Tampa Bay area and southwest Florida. It purchased six more by mid-2015 and had $1.3 billion set aside to buy more in the back half of the year. It will also use some of that money to build and renovate stores.
The grocery chain's employees own about 31% of Publix Super Markets' stock through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan.