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    Economy Bites Into Publix’s Q1 Comps, Net Earnings

    Despite the surge in at-home meal preparation, the rocky economic landscape has taken its toll on food retailers: Publix posted sales Friday for the first quarter of 2009 of $6.4 billion, a 2.2 percent rise from last year’s $6.2 billion. First-quarter comps dropped 2.8 percent, however.

    Despite the surge in at-home meal preparation, the rocky economic landscape has taken its toll on food retailers: Publix posted sales Friday for the first quarter of 2009 of $6.4 billion, a 2.2 percent rise from last year’s $6.2 billion. First-quarter comps dropped 2.8 percent, however.

    Net earnings for the quarter were $321.5 million, vs. $343.2 million in the year-ago period, a decline of 6.3 percent, while earnings per share were unchanged at 41 cents per share.

    As of Friday, the grocery chain’s stock price had gone from from $16.10 per share to $15.55 per share.

    “The economy continues to affect our results and stock price,” noted CEO Ed Crenshaw. “We look forward to an improving economy.”

    Privately owned and operated by its 140,000 employees, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix has 1,005 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.

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