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 grown faster and been more profitable than Winn-Dixie Stores and other regional rivals. More than two-thirds of its 1,070 stores are in Florida, but it also operates in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 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 1,000 supermarkets, Publix operates seven distribution centers in Florida and one in Georgia. The company also operates two bakeries (Atlanta and Lakeland, Florida), three dairies (Deerfield Beach and Lakeland, Florida, and Lawrenceville, Georgia), three fresh foods processing plants (Deerfield Beach, Jacksonville, and Lakeland, Florida), and a printing services plant in Lakeland.
Sales and Marketing
Publix spent about $208.3 million and $202.4 million in advertising in 2012 and 2011, respectively.
Publix's 2012 sales topped $27 billion, a 2% increase vs. the prior year. Net income increased by 4% over the same period. The sales growth was driven by the addition of about 30 new stores and an increase in same-store sales of 2%. Publix has logged steady sales and profit growth over the past three years. 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.
Publix reported $697.1 million in capital expenditures in 2012, primarily for the opening of new supermarkets and the remodeling of existing stores. In 2013 the grocery chain has budgeted about $810 million capital expenditures, primarily for new stores and remodels, as well as the construction of new or the expansion of existing warehouses, and new or enhanced information technology hardware, among other projects.
Publix is looking to extend its supermarket prowess to new markets. The supermarket operator is doubling its presence in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area with the purchase of seven stores there from BI-LO. It opened its first new store in Charlotte in 2014. The move will more than double its presence in the area. It's also opened new stores in South Carolina in 2013.
To better focus on its core supermarket business, Publix sold its 14-store PIX convenience store chain to Circle K (owned by Canada's Couche-Tard) in late 2013, and its Crispers soup-salad-and-sandwich restaurant business in 2011. After adding more than 20 new supermarkets to its store count in 2012, the company plans to add another two dozen in 2013. To support its rapid store growth, Publix is building a nearly 1-million-square-foot distribution center near Orlando International Airport. Publix, which acquired the site in 2009, halted plans to build when the Florida economy tanked. It expects the new facility to be completed in late 2014. The additional capacity should help Publix strengthen its hold on the South by allowing it to compete even more effectively against Winn-Dixie, which combined with BI-LO is 2012; Sweetbay; and supercenter operator Wal-Mart. (Low-cost ALDI is also expanding in Florida.) In the Atlanta market, Publix is facing increased heat from Kroger. Also, Kroger is buying North Carolina-based Harris Teeter, to increase its presence in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
The grocery chain's employees own about 31% of Publix Super Markets' stock through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan.