Publix Super Markets, Inc., commonly known as Publix, is an employee-owned, American supermarket chain based in Lakeland, Florida. Publix operates throughout the Southeast, with locations in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
Founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, Publix is a private corporation that is wholly owned by present and past employees. It is currently ranked No. 67 on Fortune magazine's list of 100 Best Companies to Work For 2016 and was ranked No. 8 on Forbes' 2015 list of America's Largest Private Companies and is the largest in Florida. The company's 2015 sales totaled US$32.4 billion, with profits of $1.97 billion, ranking #87 on Fortune magazine's Fortune 500 list of U.S. companies for 2016. Supermarket News ranked Publix No. 5 in the 2014 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on fiscal year sales. Based on 2014 revenue, Publix is the thirteenth-largest U.S. retailer and thirty-fifth in the world. Publix's current stock price is $43.95 per share, though stock in the company is only available for purchase by eligible active employees and non-employee members of its Board of Directors.
In 2011, Publix announced they would be moving into the North Carolina market, first opening stores in the Charlotte metropolitan area, and later announced construction of a new store in Asheville. The first Charlotte-area stores, located on the South Carolina side of the metropolitan area, opened in 2012; the first North Carolina store opened in Ballantyne on February 26, 2014. Concurrently, Publix purchased seven Charlotte-area locations from competitor BI-LO stores. Publix completed the purchase of property in Boone, NC on November 20, 2015 with plans to open in 2017.
In February 2016, Publix announced their entry into the Virginia market, with the signing of two store leases, the first in Bristol scheduled to open in late 2016, and the second in metropolitan Richmond scheduled for 2018.
Publix employs almost 180,000 people at its 1,114 (as of 2015 year-end) retail locations, cooking schools, corporate offices, eight grocery distribution centers, and ten manufacturing facilities. The manufacturing facilities produce its dairy, deli, bakery, and other food products.
Publix stands as one of the largest U.S. regional grocery chains: one of a very small number which operates over 1,000 locations. Its main competitors are the national grocery chains IGA, Kroger, SuperValu, and Whole Foods; consolidated retail and warehouse chains, including Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club; and several regional grocery chains, including BI-LO (operating under both its own name and that of its wholly owned subsidiary Winn-Dixie), Harris Teeter, Fresh Market, Piggly Wiggly, K-VA-T Food City, Food Lion, Ingles, and Rouses. Publix stores are found as far north as Clarksville, Tennessee, and as far south as Key West, Florida, while the westernmost location is in greater Mobile, Alabama. As of 2015, the state of Florida still has the largest number of stores, with 768, nearly three-quarters of the outlets.
George Jenkins opened the first Publix market in Winter Haven, Florida, on Sept. 6, 1930—a 27 ft by 65 ft building at 199 West Central Avenue. In 1934, that store made $120,000 in sales. In 1935, he opened a second market, the Economy Food Store, also in Winter Haven. Despite the Great Depression, his stores were financially successful.
In 1940, Jenkins, affectionately called "Mr. George" by his employees, mortgaged an orange grove to build Florida's first supermarket. His "food palace" had piped-in music, air conditioning, cold cases for frozen and refrigerated items, in-store donut and flower shops, and electric-eye automatic doors. During World War II, material shortages prevented him from building additional stores. In 1945, Jenkins purchased the 19-store All American chain of food stores and converted them into Publix Super Markets.
In 1951, Publix moved its headquarters from Winter Haven to Lakeland, Florida, and built its first distribution warehouse there. At the same time, they began to close the All American stores, replacing them with Publix markets. In 1956, Publix achieved $50 million in sales, and $1 million in profit. In 1957, the donut shop in each store was expanded into a full-service bakery.
By 1959, Publix was the dominant supermarket chain in Central Florida, and began expansion to South Florida. In 1963, the company built a distribution center in Miami, and began providing deli services. In 1970, sales surpassed $500 million; they reached $1 billion in 1974, when the chain expanded to include Jacksonville, Florida.
In 1982, the company launched the ATM network; it soon installed ATMs in every Publix. Sales exceeded $5 billion in 1989. The first Publix outside Florida opened in Savannah, Georgia, in 1991; distribution and manufacturing facilities in Lawrenceville, Georgia (a northeastern suburb of Atlanta) soon followed, as it began to expand into metro Atlanta in 1993. Publix further expanded into South Carolina (1993), Alabama (1996), Tennessee (2002), and North Carolina (2014).
Publix celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2005. During that time, it used the slogan "It's Been Our Pleasure."
In early 2005, Publix renamed its checkout section from "Common Area" to "Customer Service". This change coincided with a new color-and-design scheme of the store's interior signage, which replaced the aging coral, navy blue, and sea green design with emerald green, tan, and gray. The former employee uniforms also began to be phased-out; each district has a selected store where employees wear the old uniforms, until none remain in the warehouses.
Publix completed the implementation of its new point of sale terminals (PRICE — Publix Retail Improved Checkout Experience) in 2006, replacing the previous generation of IBM 4690 terminals. The newer system combines a Hewlett-Packard RP5000 terminal with a touchscreen system, and an Epson thermal printer. A separate LCD screen for customers lists the last several items scanned, the running total of the bill, customer savings, recipe ideas, and Publix advertising. By September 2010, checkouts in all stores were expected to have card readers replaced with units featuring signature capture.
Publix Super Markets bought 49 Florida stores from Albertsons. The deal was announced on June 9, 2008, and was completed on September 9, 2008. It included 15 locations in North Florida, 30 in Central Florida and four in South Florida. The sale allowed Publix to operate four stores in a new market area for the company, Escambia County, Florida (the Pensacola area).
On February 5, 2009, Publix opened its 1,000th store in St. Augustine, Florida, allowing the company to become one of only five U.S. grocery retailers to operate that many stores. The St. Augustine store is among Publix's first stores designed to be energy-efficient. The store includes motion sensor lights throughout the store, including on the freezer doors, and an overhead light system that can be controlled by each department.
In 2011, Publix completed a rollout of Oasis, a new timekeeping and labor forecasting system, company-wide. Oasis replaced the outdated People Planner labor management system that Publix used for almost two decades. Oasis provides a more accurate labor forecast for stores to generate schedules that fit their business needs. Selected stores throughout the company piloted Oasis beginning in 2009. With Oasis, associates are able to view their schedules from their home computers and enter requests for time off into a self-service workstation.
On October 22, 2013, Publix said they will be selling the PIX convenience stores, thus exiting the convenience channel. Circle K Stores, Inc. purchased 13 of the 14 locations, while Max Arnold & Sons LLC bought the one in Tennessee. Publix will retain the PIX name.
In April 2016, Ed Crenshaw, grandson of founder George Jenkins, retired from his position as CEO. President Todd Jones, a 36-year Publix veteran whose first job was as a Front Service Clerk (bagger), has taken on Ed's responsibilities as CEO, marking the first time that someone outside the Jenkins family is in charge of the company. Ed Crenshaw will remain with Publix as Chairman of the Board of Directors.
On February 2, 2016, Publix announced plans to expand into Virginia starting in 2017, having signed leases for two new locations in Bristol and Glen Allen, located in the greater Richmond area. In July 2016, it was announced that Publix had entered into a purchase agreement with Ahold and Delhaize Group for 10 Martin's Food Markets locations in Richmond market as part of the divestiture of stores to gain clearance from the Federal Trade Commission for the impending Ahold/Delhaize merger.
Each store provides specific products and services in its grocery, deli, bakery, produce, floral, meat, and seafood departments. Some stores have valet parking, cafés, sushi bars, pharmacy departments, and/or a liquor store.
Along with this, Publix provides a comprehensive "special order" service. Irregularly-stocked or rare items from almost all departments, even some products carried only by Publix's competitors, can be ordered through this service. This service includes some products that are normally only found at health food stores, including organic meats, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to vegetarian and vegan products; hypoallergenic foods, and other specialty food items. This service can be used at any Publix customer service counter.
The customer service counter also provides check cashing, money orders, Western Union services, Rug Doctor rentals, and lottery tickets. Some stores also provide DVD rental services. In December 2005, Publix discontinued its photo processing service, replacing it with an exclusively online, or mail-order service via the Snapfish program. The Snapfish agreement has since been terminated, and Publix no longer offers photo services.
Aprons Simple Meals
A recent addition to the stores is its Aprons (formerly stylized with an apostrophe, i.e. "Apron's") cooking demonstrations, customers are encouraged to sample easy-to-make, nutritious dishes prepared at in-store kiosks and take a recipe card with them. All recipes are developed in-house, using easy-to-prepare or prepackaged ingredients, often available at the Aprons kiosk.
Apron's Make-Ahead Meals
Publix, in 2005, introduced its Apron's Make-Ahead Meals concept, where customers could purchase six, eight, or twelve meals that they could assemble in-store. For an extra charge, an Apron's associate would prepare and assemble the meals. These were standalone stores located in Jacksonville and Lithia, Florida. In summer 2009, Publix closed both Make-Ahead Meals locations citing lack of customer interest.
Aprons Cooking School
Publix operates nine cooking schools as part of its Aprons family. These schools are located in Boca Raton, Jacksonville, Orlando, Plantation, Sarasota, Tampa, Tallahassee, and Lakeland, Florida, and Alpharetta, Georgia. Classes are geared toward all cooks wanting to expand their repertoire and feature renowned chefs, authors, and cooking celebrities, as well as experienced cooking instructors. The classes are designed to teach skills including basic techniques and wine pairing. Publix also offers classes for children ages 8 to 12, with separate classes for 13- to 18-year-olds, and adults.
Publix GreenWise Market
Publix GreenWise Market is a concept the company introduced in response to the increase in the number and profitability of health food stores. GreenWise Markets were created to increase awareness of nutrition; it focuses on organic and natural items. These stores are similar to the Whole Foods Market chain. GreenWise Markets is an expansion of a concept that began in the 2000s; most regular Publix stores have a GreenWise section. In addition to organic and traditional products, GreenWise Markets include salad and hot bars. The first six stores were set to be in Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Vero Beach, Tampa, Naples, and Coral Springs, Florida. The first GreenWise Market opened on September 27, 2007 in Palm Beach Gardens. The second Publix GreenWise Market opened in Boca Raton on May 29, 2008, located in Boca Village Square. The third Publix GreenWise Market opened November 6, 2008, in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood.
At this time, the company is focused on a "hybrid" concept where they integrate the greenwise concept into a traditional Publix store. These stores have a café, hot bar, and many items that you would find in a GreenWise store. A few of the locations are in Vero Beach, Naples, Tampa (Gandy Blvd), Viera, and Celebration.
Publix operates seven stores, branded "Publix Sabor" (sabor is Spanish for "flavor"), which cater to Hispanic Americans living in Florida and offer products for Hispanics. Located in Miami-Dade County in Greater Miami, the seven themed stores are spread between Miami and Hialeah. Two other Publix Sabor locations in Kissimmee and Lake Worth have since been closed and replaced by newly built locations or merged with existing stores that are not part of the Sabor sub-brand.
Publix Sabor locations have bilingual English-Spanish employees, open seating cafés, and a wider selection of prepared foods from the deli and bakery catering to Hispanic flavors. Publix offers cafés and hot foods because many Hispanic Americans grew up in foreign cities which had open public squares where people socialize and eat.
The first Publix in-store pharmacy was opened on October 30, 1986 in Altamonte Springs, Florida. By 1995, one-third of Publix stores had a pharmacy and today, approximately 90% of Publix stores include a pharmacy. Publix Pharmacies consistently ranked number one for customer satisfaction in supermarket pharmacies in several surveys conducted by independent research companies.
Publix announced in August 2007, that it would offer several types of antibiotics free to its customers. Customers must have a prescription; they are given a maximum of a two-week supply. Several medical professionals expressed concerns that this could contribute to an overuse of antibiotics which leads to antibiotic resistance, a serious public health concern. These medications include:
- Amoxicillin (excluding Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid)
- Ciprofloxacin (excluding Ciprofloxacin XR)
- Penicillin VK and
- Sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP)
These antibiotics are being offered to customers regardless of their prescription insurance provider. Doxycycline Hyclate was removed from the list because of cost increases. In May 2014, Cephalexin was removed from the list due to cost increases.
In March 2010, Publix announced the launch of another free prescription, Metformin for Type II Diabetes, the generic of Glucophage. Publix provides the medication in 500 mg, 850 mg and 1,000 mg strengths. The only restriction is a 90-day supply or up to 360 500-mg, 270 850-mg or 225 1000-mg tablets, but refills are not limited.
In August 2011, Publix began offering Lisinopril, an ACE inhibitor that is used to prevent, treat, or improve symptoms of high blood pressure, certain heart conditions, diabetes, and certain chronic kidney conditions, as another free prescription. Customers can get a 90-day supply of this prescription for free at any Publix Pharmacy, up to a maximum of 180 tablets. Lisinopril-HCTZ combination products are excluded.
In May 2014, Publix began offering Amlodipine, a calcium channel blocker used to treat high blood pressure and chest pain (angina) as a free medication. Customers can get a 90-day supply of this medication (up to 180 2.5-mg or 5-mg tablets, or 90 10-mg tablets) free of charge.
The Little Clinic
In early 2006, Publix and The Little Clinic signed an exclusive agreement to open medical clinics within Publix stores. The first clinics were opened in the Atlanta, Miami, Orlando and Tampa markets in the first half of 2006. The Little Clinic health-care centers were staffed by nurse practitioners who can write prescriptions, provide diagnosis and treatment of common ailments and minor injuries, and offer wellness care like physicals, screenings, and vaccinations. Effective May 9, 2011, Publix closed the Little Clinics in its stores in order to focus on its core pharmacy and grocery business.
Current and former projects
Online shopping and delivery services
With the launch of PublixDirect on September 24, 2001, Publix attempted to enter the online grocery business, in hopes of serving the Southeastern U.S. The slogan used was "Online Shopping, Home Delivery." This occurred during the dot-com crash, alongside competitor Webvan's well-publicized failure. Publix found that demand for online grocery shopping in the Miami testing area was not as great as the company expected, and shut down PublixDirect on August 23, 2003.
After PublixDirect, Publix made a second attempt in 2010 at e-commerce with the introduction of Publix Curbside. Customers had the ability to browse and purchase groceries online, then drive to a participating location where an associate will have selected their items and would bring them out to the buyer's vehicle. Announced as a pilot program with locations in the Atlanta area and Tampa, the program was ended in January 2012 after its performance reportedly did not meet expectations.
In July 2016, Publix announced another pilot program with Instacart to offer online shopping and delivery services in the greater Miami area. Customers in 37 ZIP codes from Hallandale Beach to South Miami are able to participate in the program. Not all products available at stores, such as alcohol, tobacco, gift cards, prescriptions, and age-restricted items, are able to be delivered by the service.
In response to other grocery stores' aggressive discounting across the Florida market, Publix opened its first Food World store in September 1970 in Orlando, Florida. The store marked the first under the Food World banner for Publix and would become the first of 22 more of the type.
In November 1977, in Lakeland, Florida, Publix opened the Lake Miriam Food World, which, at 57,000 sq. ft., was its largest store in the company and also the largest store in the southeast. The store was the company's first to feature barcode scanners.
The brand was retired in 1985 because the stores were unable to turn a profit for Publix or give workers a percentage of their store's profits.
Starting in 2001, Publix operated 14 PIX (stylized in all-capitals) gasoline-convenience stores in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. Locations were limited during the trial basis of the concept. In 2014, all Florida and Georgia locations were sold to Circle K, the sole Tennessee location was sold to another entity, and the concept was discontinued. The locations were converted to other brands, as Publix retains the rights to "PIX."
In 2002, Publix invested in the Lakeland-based restaurant chain Crispers, which concentrates on health-conscious fare. It increased its stake in 2004 before purchasing the remainder of the company in 2007. In May 2011, Publix announced it had sold the Crispers chain to Healthy Food Concepts LLC. The stores had not performed well during the downturn and in recent years Publix closed several units, leaving the chain with 36 stores when the sale was announced.
Publix tested the market response to liquor stores in the late 1980s, but closed its test sites in 1989. It re-entered the liquor sales market again in 2003 and has met with success since. The liquor store is in an area accessed via a separate entrance as required by local laws, modeling after many other grocery chains.
156 locations in the Atlanta, Charlotte, and Jacksonville divisions offered Ticketmaster services in the early 2000's. In 2015, a decision was made to stop offering this service, and Publix began a year-long withdrawal from the program. The final Publix-Ticketmaster location was closed on May 3, 2016.
DVD rental kiosks
In September 2010, Publix reported it started adding Blockbuster DVD rental kiosks to its stores, with the movie rentals starting at $1 per day. In 2010, Publix completed its rollout of Blockbuster Express kiosks to its stores.
In 2012, NCR sold its entertainment division, which includes the Blockbuster Express kiosks, to Coinstar, the owner of the Redbox DVD rental kiosks. Blockbuster Express machines were replaced with Redbox machines in most stores by the end of 2012.
Presto! is an automated teller machine (ATM) network owned and operated by Publix Super Markets. There are over 1,055 Presto! ATMs in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, all located at Publix retail stores. This network includes Point of sale (POS) capabilities, meaning that debit, credit, Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cash, or EBT Food Stamp cards can be used to make purchases at any Publix store.
Fees and the Network
Fees are charged for transactions and inquiries made on any card not in the Presto! network.
Some of the highest-volume Presto! network members are:
- Publix Employees Federal Credit Union
- South Florida Educational Federal Credit Union
- SunTrust - Georgia
- Tropical Financial Credit Union
- Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union
- Synovus Bank
The Publix website offers an alphabetical listing of the more than 2,000 financial institutions that are members of the Presto! network.
Publix is organized into departments grouped based on similar skills, expertise, work activities, and resource use, such as human resources, marketing, public affairs, manufacturing, and distribution. All the departments have specific resources that help it reach the organizational task, and each department only deals with their specific area and problems. Stores are made up of seven departments (Customer Service, Grocery, Meat, Produce, Deli, Bakery and Pharmacy,) and are run by a department manager or assistant manager of that department. All departments are overseen by a Store Manager and Assistant Store Manager. When both of these managers are absent, operations are left to a Manager in Charge, typically a department manager or assistant department manager from Customer Service or Grocery.
The company, founded in 1930, has never had a layoff. It has a tuition reimbursement program originally designed for degree-seeking students, but has also become available to those taking individual courses or technical training, including online courses. The program is available to all Publix associates who work an average of 10 hours per week for six months.
In 1995 Publix was sued "for sex discrimination in job assignments, promotions and allocation of hours" and settled for $81.5 million in 1997. Publix had claimed that the suit was simply an effort by the United Food and Commercial Workers to unionize the company, but the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and required Publix to "correct some of its statements."
In 2014, Publix was fined by the Board of Human Rights of Broward County, Florida for discrimination involved in the termination of an LGBT employee. Upon appeal, the 17th Circuit Court found that the decision by the Board of Human Rights of Broward County "is not supported by competent, substantial evidence" and quashed the order.
Publix announced that effective January 1, 2015, health coverage will now be available to same-sex couples regardless of place of marriage, as long as they are legally married.
- One of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" (1998–2016) – Fortune
- One of the Best Places to Work in IT (2005–2010) – Computerworld
- One of the "Best Companies to Work for in Florida" (2009) – Florida Trend
- Sustainability Excellence Award (2009) – Supermarket News
- One of the "Most Admired Companies" (1994–2009) – Fortune
- "Green Grocer" Award (2008) – Progressive Grocer magazine
- "Best Grocery Store" (2003–2004) – Florida Monthly magazine
- Winner of the Mid-Florida Society for Human Resource Management Diversity Award (2003)
- Received the Diversistar Award for excelling in promoting workplace diversity practices (2003)
- One of the Top 10 Family-Friendly Supermarkets (2003) – Child magazine
- The Governor's Business Diversification Award – Business Expansion (2003)
- Catalyst Blue Ribbon Board of Fortune 500 Companies with Multiple Women Directors (1998–2002)
- One of the nation's Outstanding Employers of Older Workers (2002) – Experience Works
- America's Second Harvest Grocery Distributor of the Year Award (2001)
- One of the "Employers of Choice 500" (2001) – BestJobsUSA.com
- Special Olympics Florida Hall of Fame (2001)
- United States Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Merit Award 2000 (2000)
- One of the top companies for working families (1999) – Central Florida Family magazine
- March of Dimes Million Dollar Club Award (1999)
- Progressive Grocer "Retailer of the Year" Award (1998) – Progressive Grocer magazine
- United Way of America national Spirit of America Award (1996)
- One of the top 10 companies in the book, The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America
In Consumer Reports' 2015 ranking of Grocery stores, Publix ranked No. 2.
Publix regularly conducts charity drives raising money and food for such charities as Special Olympics, March of Dimes, Children's Miracle Network, United Way and various local food banks and soup kitchens such as Our Father's House Soup Kitchen and Second Harvest North Florida.
In 2003, Publix supported a successful bill that prevents owners from suing if their land is polluted by dry cleaning chemicals dumped on an adjacent property, if the adjacent property owners are on a state clean-up list. Publix lost a 2001 lawsuit filed by an owner whose property had been contaminated in this manner.
On October 4, 2005, Publix sued Visa and MasterCard citing unfair business practices over their unannounced and non-negotiable increases in merchant account fees. Wal-Mart won a similar lawsuit against Visa in 2004.
Publix stock is restricted: it can only be owned by current or former associates or board members and cannot be sold outside the company without first being offered to the company for repurchase.
Stock is offered to associates through 3 programs: PROFIT (Publix People Reaching Our Future Investing Together) plan (ESOP), 401(k) SMART (Saving Makes A Richer Tomorrow) plan, and an employee stock purchase plan. The PROFIT plan generally gives an associate who has worked 1,000 hours in a year 7-10% of the regularly pay earned in the form of free stock on March 1 of the following year. An associate must work three years to be vested in the plan. The plan is at no cost to the associate.
Associates may buy the stock outright in the purchase plan; however, there is a 1-year restriction on buying stock once it is sold.
Publix matches 50% of 3% of eligible wages through the 401(k) plan, up to $750 per year in matched contributions.
In addition, stock is offered to the Board of Directors through a separate plan.
The stock pays quarterly dividends that have been steadily increasing since 2000 and yield just under 3 percent.
The stock was made available to associates in the 1959, priced at $2.50 per share. $100 of Publix stock purchased in 1959, assuming reinvestment of dividends, would be worth $749,657 as of June 2016. The stock has a compounded annual growth of 16% from 1959 to 2016. Publix stock is valued at $43.95 per share as of May 1, 2016. Publix stock is quoted on the US OTC market under the code PUSH. It is listed on the 2014 Fortune 500 list at #104.
|(As of July 2016)||Supermarkets(inclusive of other categories)||GreenWise Markets||Publix Sabor||Cooking schools||Event planning|
|Virginia (coming 2016)||0||0||0||0||0|
Supermarket, Sabor, and Greenwise are considered "stores." Cooking schools, and Event Planning are part of actual stores and therefore do not count towards total store counts. In 2011, Publix announced they would expand into the North Carolina market with its first store in Charlotte. The first store opened in February 2014.
Distribution centers are located in:
Manufacturing facilities are located in:
Publix is organized into five divisions: Lakeland, Miami, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and Charlotte.
- Waitrose, an employee owned supermarket in the UK that is broadly similar to Publix.