LAKELAND, Fla. - While many businesses have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, grocery stores are seeing their sales spike.
Publix announced Monday that sales in the first half of 2020 increased approximately $2.5 billion compared to the same time last year.
The Lakeland-based supermarket chain reported that sales for the second quarter saw a 21.8% increase over the same time frame last year.
In the announcement, Publix estimated that sales increased $1.5 billion in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic, after they reported a $1 billion jump in sales during the first quarter.
Publix and other grocery stores have been deemed essential services amid "stay-at-home" orders across the U.S., and have seen a surge in sales as customers emptied shelves of toilet paper and cleaning supplies. With many restaurants closed, more people have been buying food to cook as well.
“Our associates’ efforts to serve our customers and communities have been remarkable,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “I want to thank our associates for the comfort they bring to our customers and their fellow associates during this difficult time. It is heartwarming to see how much they care.”
Publix gave two months of rent relief to businesses in their company-owned shopping centers.
Publix's stock price increased from $50.10 per share to $54.35 per share. However, the stock is not publicly traded, and is available only to current Publix employees.