Florida’s dominant grocer continues to load up on real estate. After another year of dealmaking, Publix owned 29.1 percent of its stores at the end of 2016, up from 25.9 percent at the end of 2015.
That’s according to a Palm Beach Post analysis of the company’s regulatory filings, including its just-released annual report. Publix owned just 10.7 percent of its stores at the end of 2006.
The tight-lipped company has not publicly explained its real estate strategy, leaving its thinking open for interpretation. Presumably, Publix realizes that it creates significant value in the shopping centers that surround its stores, and renting makes its landlords rich.
Other highlights from the Lakeland-based grocer’s annual report: It turned net earnings of $2 billion on revenue of $34 billion in 2016.
Publix had 191,000 employees at the end of the year. The retailer isn’t publicly traded, but shares are so widely held through the grocer’s employee stock ownership plan that it’s required to file an annual report with federal regulators.