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    Publix Feels the Pinch on Q2 Profits

    The chain saw same-store sales creep up, but earnings fall.

    A sales increase of less than 5 percent and comps of 1.3 percent sales for the second quarter did not lift Publix Super Markets above the economy-related struggles some other grocers are suffering in the Southeast and across the country.

    The Lakeland, Fla.-based chain said Friday that sales for the quarter were $5.9 billion, a 3.5 percent increase from last year's $5.7 billion, while comparable-store sales inched up 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, net earnings in the quarter were $295.8 million, down 3.5 percent from $306.4 million in the same period of 2007.

    Publix also said sales for the first half of fiscal 2008 increased by 4.8 percent over last year, coming in at $12.1 billion vs. $11.5 billion in the year ago period. Net earnings for the first half of 2008 were $638.9 million, up from $624 million in 2007, an increase of 2.4 percent. Earnings per share increased to $0.77 for the first half of 2008, up from $0.74 per share in 2007.

    Stock price in the privately-held company increased to $19.70 per share from $19.45, according to the most recent appraisal.

    "I am proud of the way our Publix associates have continued to serve our customers in this difficult economic environment," said Ed Crenshaw, Publix c.e.o.

    Publix operates 940 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee.

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