Publix is the sixth largest grocery retailer in the US despite the fact that it operates in just seven states across the Southeastern US. By early 2021 there were a total of 1,266 stores, around two-thirds of them - 800 stores - in its home state of Florida, where it has twice as many outlets as any rival grocer. It also operates in Georgia, and there are small numbers of stores in Alabama, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virginia. Subsidiary brands include Aprons cookery schools and packaged meal kits, and GreenWise Markets offering only own-label natural and organic produce. The store has a reputation for superior quality as well as bold customer-friendly marketing techniques that build loyalty. For example, it routinely accepts discount coupons issued by all rival supermarkets, and offers free 14-day courses of antibiotics and selected other medicines from its pharmacy counters. It also periodically promotes its own-label products by offering a free sample to customers buying branded competitor products. The business was founded in Tampa in 1930 by George W Jenkins, who built it from a single store into the largest commercial employer in Florida by the time of his death in 1996. He also decreed that all shares in the company should be owned by employees. That remains the case today, making Publix one of the largest private companies in America. The Jenkins family also traditionally worked for the company - his grandson Ed Crenshaw was CEO until 2016, and remains non-executive chairman - and own around 20% of stock between them. The remaining 80% is held by other past and present employees. Non-family member Todd Jones is now CEO; a Publix lifer, he began his career at the company in 1980 as a checkout bagger. Publix is thought to be the country's most profitable grocery chain by margins, with net income up by a third in 2020 to $4bn on revenues up 18% to $44.9bn. Performance was boosted by higher customer purchasing of food and cleaning materials during the pandemic.
Capsule checked 30th September 2021
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