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Early Easter helps first-quarter sales at Publix

Publix's sales for the first quarter of 2013 were $7.5 billion, a 6.1 percent increase from last year's $7.1 billion.

Part of the increase is attributable to the Easter holiday having occurred in the first quarter of 2013, which increased sales by approximately 1.3 percent. Easter was in the second quarter last year.

Comparable-store sales for the first quarter of 2013 increased 3.9 percent. Net earnings for the first quarter of 2013 were $471.3 million compared to $409.4 million in 2012, an increase of 15.1 percent. Earnings per share for the first quarter increased to $0.61 for 2013, up from $0.52 per share in 2012. Net earnings and earnings per share benefited from the early Easter holiday in the first quarter of 2013.

Effective May 1, 2013, Publix's stock price increased from $23.20 per share to $26.90 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.

"I'm very pleased that our strong operating performance and improvements in the stock market resulted in a significant increase in our stock price," Ed Crenshaw, chief executive officer at Publix, based in Lakeland, FL, said in a statement. "I want to thank our associates — the owners of Publix — for continuing to make us a leader in our industry."