Publix sales surge 3.8% in Q4 despite rising competition
- Publix reported Q4 sales of $9.3 billion, a 3.8% increase from 2017, the company said in a press release. The retailer’s comparable store sales for quarter were up 1.1%. Net earnings were $407 million, a decrease of about 47%. The retailer attributed the drop to a change in accounting standards, but net earnings were also positively affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Excluding these two factors, the retailer’s net earnings would have been $660 million, an increase of 21.7%.
- Sales for fiscal year 2018 were $36.1 billion, a 4.4% increase from 2017. Comparable store sales for 2018 rose 2.1%. Publix said earnings for the year were $2.4 billion, compared to $2.3 billion in 2017, a jump of 3.9%.
- Separately, the grocer announced an exclusive partnership with Flagler Health+ to establish three Flagler Health+ branded telehealth sites at Publix locations in St. Johns County, Florida. The collaboration also will include adding a Publix Pharmacy within Flagler Hospital, the 12th one the grocer has opened within a hospital.
Publix's fourth-quarter sales and same-store sales improved from 2017, but the company's reported earnings took a hit from a change in accounting standards, making the drop appear more significant than it is.
This is Publix's second consecutive quarter that has seen a positive impact from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which has given tax breaks to major corporations, including several grocery stores. Grocers have invested the savings into their businesses and to strengthen their bottom line.
While Publix has a strong foothold in Florida, it is seeing more competition as other grocers open up and evolve their concepts. The grocer, which has been around since 1930, knows the importance of keeping up with consumer demands, and invests in keeping its stores up to date. Publix also has expanded its footprint further north, with locations now as far north as Virginia.
From the looks of it, Publix has utilized some of its tax cut savings to expand its Greenwise banner. The retailer launched the reboot of its Greenwise market in October and has since announced the expansion of the small-concept store to three additional locations. Greenwise stores feature Publix's prized natural, organic Greenwise private label line, as well as a grocerant experience with fresh-made foods including noodle bowls, artisanal pizza and a kombucha bar. Customers also can expect the same high level of customer service popular at Publix.
Publix's announcement to partner with Flagler Health+ is significant in a landscape where more grocers are getting into the health business. Making health convenient for shoppers will likely strengthen their loyalty to Publix, and the health offering gives the company a stronger foothold in its community. Publix now has 12 pharmacies within a hospital, and also has partnered with BayCare Health System to offer similar telehealth services in four counties around Tampa, Florida.
Midwest grocer Hy-Vee also has focused on health by establishing retail dietitians in every one of its stores. It has since expanded its health offerings to include weight-loss and smoking cessation support groups, a diabetes management program, and even a mobile clinic that travels around to offer health screenings and nutrition info to communities.
For supermarkets, capitalizing on health and wellness these days means offering more than just organic products and an assortment of produce. It means providing services, staffing medical professionals and showing consumers how they can use stores as tools to achieve their health goals.
- Business Wire Publix Announces 4th Quarter and Annual Results for 2018
Follow Krishna Thakker on Twitter