October 2, 2023

Grocery wars in Florida: Publix vs. Walmart

Mike Vogel | 7/28/2014

Walmart in Florida

  • 317 locations
  • 205 supercenters
  • 50 Neighborhood Markets
  • 45 Sam’s Clubs
  • 17 discount centers
  • Full-time employees average $13 per hour

City of Miami residents travel outside the city limits — there’s no Walmart inside — to spend $85 million a year at Walmart. Two Walmarts are coming into Miami.

Walmart stores in Doral and Hialeah Gardens are top performers globally for Walmart.

Neither Walmart nor Publix has figured out how to make online ordering and delivery profitable. Publix tried it in the 1990s and learned lessons but, judging from comments by CEO Ed Crenshaw, won’t plunge back in until someone figures out how to do it profitably — or get consumers to pay for it.

“The five year plan is working in that direction, trying to become the leaders of the state,” says Martin Mundo, head of Walmart for Florida.

Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw says he visits Walmart stores to see what they are doing right. But pressed to name something he had ever seen at a Walmart that he thought Publix must copy, he came up empty. “But I would say that I’ve gone into a Walmart and said they’re getting better at what they’re doing when it comes to the food business, and they are.”

“There’s not too many Publixes — by any stretch of the imagination.”

— Ed Crenshaw

Publix expansion beyond Florida

  • 1991 – Georgia
  • 1993 – South Carolina
  • 1996 – Alabama
  • 2002 – Tennessee
  • 2014 – North Carolina

Publix store counts:

  • Florida – 753
  • Georgia – 181
  • Alabama – 56
  • South Carolina – 49
  • Tennessee – 36
  • North Carolina – 3
  • Total – 1,078

Publix store openings announced

  • North Carolina: 10 stores announced; seven with 2014 opening dates; three have opened.
  • South Carolina: Six stores; four with 2014 opening dates; one has opened.
  • Florida: 22 stores; 10 with 2014 dates; three opened.
  • Tennessee: Two stores Alabama: Three stores; two with 2014 opening dates; one has opened.
  • Georgia: One

Fresh and organic markets such as Whole Foods and Fresh Market and affordable fresh player Sprouts, which reportedly has been scouting for Florida sites, make up one of the biggest trends in the grocery business. But trends don’t equal destiny. Fresh Market stumbled in Houston; Whole Foods saw its stock price dive in May after it cut its outlook.

Publix is the seventhlargest private company in the U.S., but Walmart’s U.S. grocery sales are more than five times Publix’s net sales.

Tags: Retail & Sales

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