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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Birmingham Business Journal has recognized Publix's entrance into the Birmingham market as its 2002 Retail Deal of the Year. Judges cited the swiftness and magnitude with which Publix launched, combined with the expected impact on fierce competition ongoing between Winn-Dixie, Bruno's and Super Wal-Mart. Publix Super Markets Inc. constructed or opened six stores in the Birmingham area in 2002.
They had to enter the market quickly, noted retail expert Jack Taylor in the Business Journal. "They have to come in with a bang to show customers they're serious, but as much as anything, to show the competition they're serious," said Taylor, the Bruno Professor of Retailing at Birmingham-Southern College.
Publix saw the timing as right, noted company spokeswoman Brenda Reid. "Birmingham is a growing community with several strong industries. We thought the timing was right to bring the Publix shopping experience to the Birmingham area," she said.
Taylor said he sees even more of a dogfight for market in Birmingham, but he thinks Publix has the heft and expertise to quickly rise in the ranks.
"I think Bruno's can stay No. 1. They still have -- although it's fading out -- that hometown reputation of being born and raised in Birmingham," Taylor says. "Publix can become No. 2. But it will come down to a nice fistfight between Publix and Wal-Mart."