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    Publix Posts Positive '06, with Comps up 5.2%

    LAKELAND, Fla. -- Regional grocer Publix Super Markets here had a decent year in 2006, with sales earnings and comps all showing increases in a fiscal year that had one less week than the year before.

    LAKELAND, Fla. -- Regional grocer Publix Super Markets here had a decent year in 2006, with sales earnings and comps all showing increases in a fiscal year that had one less week than the year before.

    Publix said yesterday that sales for the 52-week fiscal year ended Dec. 30, 2006 were $21.7 billion, a 5.2 percent increase from fiscal 2005’s $20.6 billion, a 53-week year. Excluding the additional week in 2005, sales for 2006 would have been up by 7.2 percent.

    Comparable-store sales for 2006 increased 5.2 percent, the chain said.

    Net earnings for the year were $1.1 billion, up 10.9 percent, compared with $989.2 million for 2005. Earnings per share were $1.29 for 2006, up from $1.15, after adjusting for the effect of the five-for-one stock split that occurred July 1, 2006.

    The extra week in 2005 did have a negative impact on results for the fourth quarter of 2006. Both earnings and total sales were down for the fourth quarter. On the positive side, comparable-store sales increased 2.4 percent in the quarter.

    Publix's sales for the 13-week fourth quarter of 2006 were $5.6 billion, down 3.2 percent from last year's $5.7 billion. Excluding the additional week in the fourth quarter of 2005, however, sales would have increased by 3.8 percent, Publix said.

    Net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2006, meanwhile, were $291.9 million, compared with $294.9 million in 2005, a decrease of 1 percent. Earnings per share remained unchanged at 35 cents per share, after adjusting for the effect of the five-for-one stock split that occurred July 1, 2006.

    Based on the most recent appraisal, Publix's stock price increased 30 cents, from $19.60 per share to $19.90 per share. Publix stock isn't publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.

    "This is our ninth consecutive quarter with an increase in our stock price," said Publix c.e.o. Charlie Jenkins Jr. in a statement. "Our associates, the owners of Publix, deserve the credit for this achievement."

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