Mapping Publix’s growth throughout the Southeast (2024)

Across the country, regional grocers are watching closely as Aldi plots several hundred new stores and Kroger and Albertsons try to create a supermarket behemoth that could challenge them in markets across the U.S.

So far, Publix Super Markets doesn’t seem phased. The regional powerhouse opened 45 stores and remodeled 120 locations throughout the Southeast in 2023. It then opened around a dozen more locations in the first three months of 2024.

That remodeling and expansion drive has become increasingly costly for Publix. The grocer’s capital expenditures for 2023 totaled $2 billion, according to its annual Securities and Exchange Commission filing, up from $1.8 billion in 2022. This year, the chain estimates it will spend approximately $2.5 billion.

But this rapid growth and evolution reflects Publix’s confidence in its business model, which centers on customer service and a one-stop shopping experience that encompasses a wide range of groceries as well as meals. Publix’s footprint in Florida consists of nearly 900 stores, with a majority including signature offerings like its pharmacies, Club Publix loyalty program and its famous Pub Subs. The regional grocer is also testing a new store prototype and adding special liquor stores at many of its stores.

Aldi plans to rebrand and remodel a considerable number of Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket locations that it recently acquired, which poses a significant threat to Publix. Publix has also been dealing with Kroger's expansion into Florida's e-commerce market.

But Publix is rising to meet these challenges through its expansion and store evolution efforts. Publix, which has ventured deep into Kroger’s domain, last fall announced plans to open a store in the greater Cincinnati area, where Kroger is headquartered.

Publix’s store openings often fly under the radar, but with so much movement in the Southeast, it would be wise for industry executives to keep track of the grocer’s next moves — because Publix shows no signs of slowing down.

Publix’s growing empire

With 865 locations in the Sunshine State, Publix is Florida’s biggest grocer,outnumbered only by Dollar General in store count. Out of the 45 locations Publix opened in 2023, half were located in Florida.

Stores Publix opened in 2023

Publix opened 23 stores across its home state, furthering its claim on Florida.

Despite Publix’s commanding presence, other grocers have plotted their expansion plans in Florida, seeking to capitalize on the state’s growing population.

For instance, Florida is a cornerstone in Sprouts Farmers Market’s ongoing expansion efforts, which included adding nine stores in the state last year. But while Sprouts’ expansion across Florida remained primarily along the coast, Publix covered markets the specialty grocer has yet to reach — including those located near northern cities like Tallahassee and in the state’s central region.

The rest of Publix’s 2023 store openings were scattered throughout Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia — states the grocer already operated in.

A growing Southeastern fleet

Publix opened 45 stores in the region in 2023, strengthening its footprint beyond Florida.

While not part of its 2023 expansion, Publix officially opened its first Kentucky storefront in January after announcing plans to do so in 2021.

Inside the stores

Practically all of the grocer’s 45 opened stores in 2023 included departments that stretch beyond traditional grocery to cater to its customers’ evolving tastes and needs. In store opening announcements listed on its website, Publix specifically called attention to its Publix Pharmacy and Publix Liquors offerings.

While other grocers have exited the pharmacy business, Publix has continued to expand its operations. The majority of stores the company opened last year include a pharmacy.

Publix Liquors locations, meanwhile, are separate shops that offer a wide range of beer, wine and spirits. The brand debuted in 2003 and now includes more than 300 shops. All but one of these stores — a Publix Liquors that’s adjacent to the recently opened Louisville, Kentucky, store — are located in Florida.

Departments beyond food

Among the 45 stores Publix opened in 2023, most included a pharmacy and nearly a third had both a pharmacy and a Publix Liquors outlet.

Publix is also rolling out a new store prototype that offers a larger selection of foodservice items, upstairs and outdoor seating, and an adjacent Publix Liquors. The new store format follows Publix shuttering its GreenWise Market banner after determining customers wanted a more traditional shopping experience with touches from the specialty banner.

The prototype seems to be hitting that mark while also featuring an in-house burrito bar, an olive bar and a full-service pharmacy with a drive-thru.

Publix opened the first of this prototype in early 2023 in Tampa, Florida, and then brought it to its Louisville, Kentucky, location. In February, a third location of this prototype opened in Wesley Chapel, Florida.

Mapping Publix’s growth throughout the Southeast (2024)

FAQs

How is Publix growing? ›

Through this expansion, the Florida-based grocery chain has grown significantly. In 2023 Publix's revenue was $57.1 billion, a 4.7% increase from $54.5 billion the previous year. Its net earnings for the fiscal year 2023 were $4.3 billion, a 49% jump compared to $2.9 billion in 2022.

How does Publix decide where to build? ›

1. The following information is required before we can consider a site:
  • Location (quadrant, intersection, city, county, state)
  • Proof of Control.
  • Zoning.
  • Trade area map showing site, competition, existing Publix stores and distance from site to other stores.
  • Demographics - 1, 2, and 3 mile radius.

What state has the most Publix's? ›

As of March, 2024, there are 1438 Publix stores in the United States. These stores are located in 8 states and territories and 522 cities. The state with the most Publix locations is Florida, with 924 stores. This is about 64% of all Publix locations in the United States.

When did Publix expand out of Florida? ›

The company took great strides by expanding outside Florida, opening its first Publix across state lines in Savannah, Georgia in 1991. On April 8, 1996, founder George Jenkins passed away at the age of 89.

Is Publix expanding to other states? ›

Publix plans to build at least four more stores in Kentucky: two in Lexington and another in Louisville. The chain already has more than 1,300 stores across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

How is Publix doing financially? ›

LAKELAND, Fla., March 1, 2024 — Publix's sales for the three months ended Dec. 30, 2023, a 13-week quarter, were $14.7 billion, a 4% decrease from $15.3 billion in 2022, a 14-week quarter. Excluding the additional week in the fourth quarter of 2022, sales for the fourth quarter of 2023 would have increased 2.8%.

Is Publix expanding into Kentucky? ›

More than three-quarters of Publix stores are in Florida and Georgia, but it's expanded to Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia within the past five years. It announced its first Kentucky location in 2021 with five now planned in Lexington and Louisville.

What are Publix's weaknesses? ›

Weaknesses. Limited geographic presence: Publix primarily operates in the southeastern United States, which makes the company more vulnerable to regional economic fluctuations and limits its overall market reach.

What is Publix differentiation strategy? ›

The integrated cost leadership/differentiation strategy that Publix is using is a common strategy employed by many companies in order to gain a competitive advantage in the market. The goal of this strategy is to provide high-quality products and services at a relatively low cost.

Is Publix only in southern states? ›

Publix has 1,297 store locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. I grew up in Wisconsin, where I grocery shopped at local chains like Sendik's and the Roundy's brand Metro Market.

Is Publix owned by Walmart? ›

Founded in 1930 by George W. Jenkins, Publix is a private corporation that is wholly owned by present and past employees and members of the Jenkins family.

Where is the oldest Publix? ›

WINTER HAVEN, Fla.

- The grocery store everyone has grown to love for the legendary Pub sub first began its roots in Central Florida. On Sept. 6, 1930, the first Publix location opened in Winter Haven, Florida.

Who is Publix owned by? ›

Publix is the largest employee-owned company in the U.S.; employees and former employees own an estimated 80% and Jenkins family members own the rest. George Jenkins (d. 1996) founded the company in 1930 after he left now-rival Piggly Wiggly; it now employs 250,000 people at its stores. Publix is chaired by William E.

What is Publix's slogan? ›

And in 1954, “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” became the new Publix slogan. In his own words, this is how Jenkins felt about the Publix slogan.

What is the target market for Publix? ›

According to GlobalData's global consumer survey Q3 2021, ~18.1% of US consumers prefer to purchase food & groceries from Publix. A large chunk of its core customers are millennials, who prefer easy & convenient shopping who account to 42.4% of its total consumer base.

Is Publix doing well? ›

LAKELAND, Fla., May 1, 2024 — Publix's sales for the three months ended March 30, 2024 were $15.1 billion, a 5% increase from $14.3 billion in 2023. Comparable store sales for the three months ended March 30, 2024 increased 2.8%.

What is the success of Publix? ›

We are one of the 10 largest-volume supermarket chains in the country. Our retail sales in 2022 reached $54.5 billion. Currently, we employ over 255,000 people. We've received numerous awards for being a great place to shop and work.

Are Publix profits up? ›

In March, Publix reported net earnings of $4.3 billion in 2023, up nearly 50% from the $2.9 billion reported in 2022.

What makes Publix stand out? ›

At Publix, we're known for treating customers like royalty — it's part of our reputation and one of the reasons customers are so loyal to our stores.

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