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Publix Thrives With $11.2 Billion Quarterly Sales As Others Lag During Coronavirus

The front of a Publix Grocery Store
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA
Publix store

Brick and mortar stores have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic. But as an essential business, Publix Supermarkets has thrived.  

The chain, which has more than 1,200 stores in seven states in the southeast, reported sales of $11.2 billion in the first three months of 2020. That's a 16% increase over the same period last year. 

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The Lakeland-based grocery giant said in a news release it attributes nearly $1 billion of that to an increase to buying in response to COVID-19.

"Never before have we experienced a more challenging time. Our associates efforts to serve our customers and communities have been nothing short of extraordinary," said Publix CEO Todd Jones.

one way sign on a terrazzo floor
Credit Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media
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WUSF Public Media
Publix set up one-way aisles in its stores to increase social distancing among its customers.

In response to the pandemic, Publix reduced its hours, offered special shopping hours to its most vulnerable populations of customers, made its aisles one-way and installed plexiglass barriers between cashiers and customers. It also hired more workers to meet what it called "unprecedented demand."

Publix was criticized for initially not allowing employees to wear face masks at work. It followed the lead of other grocery store chains by requiring such masks on April 6.

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