- Publix will expand its Lakeland, Florida headquarters and hire 700 additional corporate employees over the next nine years, according to a company release. Specifically, the grocer plans to add an additional 190,000 square feet to its corporate campus, bringing total square footage to 510,000 square feet, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
- Publix last expanded its headquarters in 2001, and since then has added more than 500 stores, doubled its annual revenue and hired more than 70,000 workers.
- “These additional jobs will help us support our store associates as they continue to provide the premier service our customers expect,” Publix president and CEO Todd Jones said in a statement. “We are proud of the role we continue to play in the great state of Florida.”
Publix continues to be Florida’s favorite grocer by a wide margin, and it’s having success so far moving into new markets, too. Last year, the company brought in $34.6 billion while growing same-store sales by 1.7%.
But competing grocers refuse to be awed by the retailer known for its customer service and store-level execution. In the Sunshine State, feisty operators like Aldi, Sprouts Farmers Market and Lucky’s Market are homing in on population centers like Orlando and Tampa Bay. Walmart is sharpening its knives, too, with remodels and e-commerce expansion trained on stores operating in the state.
Florida is quickly becoming a battleground, with grocery openings up 6% last year while openings across the rest of the country dropped 29%. In the mid-Atlantic, meanwhile, Publix is dropping into some of the country’s most hotly contested markets.
Publix isn’t resting on its laurels. It recently rebooted its GreenWise store format to compete with small-box and specialty competitors. The company recently announced its fifth location — and its first outside of Florida — in Marietta, Georgia. It’s also building out home delivery chainwide and keeping its stores looking fresh. The company will spend $1.5 billion this year on remodels, on top of the $1.4 billion it spent last year.
The headquarters expansion and corporate hiring blitz adds to this competitive strategy. The company’s last HQ expansion fueled a growth rate of roughly 30 stores a year and a doubling of sales. Publix won’t be able to match that same pace in the years ahead, considering markets are much more saturated these days, but the added staffing and resources should fuel innovation well into the future.
As Publix knows well, if traditional grocers don’t evolve, they’ll lose their customers to retailers that are keeping pace with consumer demand.