Publix sees modest sales gains in first quarter

The retailer saw revenue and same-store sales grow by the low single digits in Q1.

Publix Supermarkets grew revenue and same-store sales in the first quarter even as the grocery sales boom ignited by the coronavirus pandemic wanes.

The grocery chain's sales for the three months ended March 27 were $11.7 billion, a 3.9% increase from $11.2 billion in 2020. Same-store sales for quarter increased 2.4%. The company estimates its sales for the quarter and the prior-year quarter increased approximately $0.9 billion or 7.8% and $1 billion or 10.3%, respectively, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Excluding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in 2021 and 2020, sales for the three months ended March 27 would have been $10.8 billion, compared to $10.2 billion in 2020, an increase of 5.5%.

“While our country is taking steps to return to normal, our associates continue to provide the premier service that brings comfort to our customers,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “I want to thank our associates for their extraordinary efforts since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Net earnings for the first quarter were $1.5 billion, compared to $667.3 million in 2020, an increase of 124%. Earnings per share period increased to $2.16 per share, up from 94 cents per share in 2020. Excluding the impact of net unrealized gains on equity securities in 2021 and net unrealized losses on equity securities in 2020, net earnings for the first quarter would have been $909.8 million, compared to $956.2 million in 2020, a decrease of 4.9%. Earnings per share would have been $1.32 per share, compared to $1.35 per share in 2020.

Effective May 1, Publix’s stock price increased from $60.20 per share to $61.30 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.

Privately owned and operated by its more than 200,000 employees, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix has 1,239 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.