Publix reported a robust first quarter, with strong sales growth and earnings boosted by gains on equity securities.
Sales for the three months ended March 30, 2019, were $9.7 billion, a 4.3% increase from $9.3 billion in 2018’s first quarter. Comparable store sales increased 1.9%. The company estimates the increase in sales was 1.2% lower due to the effect of the Easter holiday being in the second quarter in 2019 and in the first quarter in 2018.
Net earnings for the first quarter were $981 million, compared to $680.3 million in 2018, an increase of 44.2%. Earnings per share increased to $1.37 per share, up from $0.93 per share in 2018. Net earnings and earnings per share were impacted by net unrealized gains and losses on equity securities.
Excluding the impact of net unrealized gains on equity securities in 2019 and net unrealized losses on equity securities in 2018, net earnings for the quarter would have been $741.7 million, compared to $704.2 million in 2018, an increase of 5.3%. Earnings per share would have been $1.04 per share, compared to $0.96 per share in 2018.