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    Publix Branches Out to Southern Alabama

    The regional grocer has 947 stores in five states, with about 250 outside its home state of Florida.

    Publix Super Markets has opened its first Alabama store south of Montgomery, after more than 10 years in the state. The grocer opened a 54,000-square-foot store in Orange Beach, and plans to open another store in nearby Fairhope next year.

    The Orange Beach store and others that are scheduled to open or have recently opened are part of the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer's efforts to expand in Alabama in 2008, according to Publix spokeswoman Brenda Reid. "We are growing at a steady pace," Reid said. "We increased the number of stores in Alabama this year. Last year it was Tennessee."

    Recently opened Alabama stores include Bessemer and Harvest, near Huntsville. Others include a store in Hoover, slated to open in November, and one in Prattville, set to open in the fourth quarter. Sites have been confirmed for Gardendale and, as mentioned above, Fairhope, with both expected to open in late 2009, said Reid. So far there has been no mention of sites in Mobile, the state's second-largest metropolitan area.

    Overall, the company plans to have opened 45 new stores before the year is out, in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee, 30 of which have already opened, according to Reid.

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