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    Publix Rebounding After Hurricane Wilma

    LAKELAND, Fla. -- Emergency Response Teams employed by Publix Super Markets here are working around the clock to assess store damage from Hurricane Wilma, the category 3 storm that lashed Florida yesterday morning. As of yesterday afternoon, about a half-dozen stores remained closed in the chain's Central and Southwestern regions, but were expected to reopen this morning, Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous told Progressive Grocer.

    LAKELAND, Fla. -- Emergency Response Teams employed by Publix Super Markets here are working around the clock to assess store damage from Hurricane Wilma, the category 3 storm that lashed Florida yesterday morning. As of yesterday afternoon, about a half-dozen stores remained closed in the chain's Central and Southwestern regions, but were expected to reopen this morning, Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous told Progressive Grocer.

    Meanwhile approximately 220 stores remained closed in the Southern Florida division, which was the hardest hit, according to Brous. "It looks like the stores in Key West and Vero Beach actually received more damage," she said. "There appear to be a lot of damaged power lines, road debris, and closed highways in the area." Still, Publix's teams planned to work throughout the night and open as many locations as possible today, she said.

    Publix has been able to account for virtually all its associates, noted Brous.

    All the retailer's stores use backup generator power during dangerous weather, and the company keeps many of its perishables on dry ice, said Brous. "We can monitor the temperatures in the coolers, so we know if product integrity is compromised."

    --Jenny McTaggart

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