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A weak job market and enduring housing challenges in Florida weren’t enough to derail the onward march of Publix last year as the state’s leading supermarket chain expanded its total store count, grew same-store sales and ended the year with record results.
The company’s formula for success remains the now familiar combination of stellar customer service and top-notch store operations. And with these retail fundamentals forming the core of its value proposition, Publix doesn’t have to concern itself with being the lowest-priced operator in the market, as its core shoppers are willing to pay a little more for a superior store experience and old-school service where employees bag groceries and carry purchases to customers’ cars.
Publix remains a case study that customer service still matters and pharmacy plays a key role in meeting that customer expectation. Publix ended last year with a total of 841 pharmacies and a steady stream of recognition. The company earned the distinction of being the highest ranking supermarket in terms of customer service — for the 17th consecutive year — by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a partnership between the University of Michigan Business School, American Society for Quality and CFI Group consulting firm.
“Offering premier customer service is strategic to all of us. It’s what sets us apart from our competition,” Publix president Todd Jones said.
Happy employees are more likely to take better care of customers, and by all indications, Publix is a good place to work. The company is 1-of-13 charter members of Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, having made the cut since the list’s inception in 1998.
Look for more of the same from the company this year as the company expected to open 26 new stores, and with some cooperation from Florida’s economy, it could be looking at an even better financial performance.