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    Publix Q3 'Solid in a Difficult Environment"

    LAKELAND, Fla. -- While many retailers have been feeling the brunt of competition and a lagging economy, regional grocer Publix Super Markets here said yesterday its sales for the third quarter increased 6.5 percent, while comparable-store sales jumped 4.5 percent, performance that Publix c.e.o. Charlie Jenkins Jr. called "solid in a difficult economic environment."

    LAKELAND, Fla. -- While many retailers have been feeling the brunt of competition and a lagging economy, regional grocer Publix Super Markets here said yesterday its sales for the third quarter increased 6.5 percent, while comparable-store sales jumped 4.5 percent, performance that Publix c.e.o. Charlie Jenkins Jr. called "solid in a difficult economic environment."

    Total sales were $5.6 billion, a 6.5 percent increase from last year's $5.2 billion. Net earnings for the third quarter were $249 million this year, compared to $252.9 million in 2006, a decrease of 1.5 percent. Earnings per share remained unchanged at $0.30 per share.

    Publix's sales for the first nine months of 2007 were $17.1 billion, a 6.4 percent increase. Net earnings for the nine months were $873 million, compared to $805.3 million in 2006, an increase of 8.4 percent. Earnings per share increased to $1.04 for the nine months, up from $0.95 per share in 2006.

    Based on the most recent appraisal, Publix's stock price decreased $0.10 from $20.90 per share to $20.80 per share, the company said. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.

    Publix is privately owned and operated by its 142,000 employees, with 2006 sales of $21.7 billion. Currently Publix has 918 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee.

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