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Earnings Update: Sales Rising for Retailers Publix, Dollar Tree, and Grocery Outlet

Several retailers have released results for their final quarters of 2020, as well as their fiscal years. Among the noteworthy takeaways were the following:

  • Publix says the pandemic increased fiscal 2020 sales by 12.1%
  • Dollar Tree consolidated net sales were up 7.2% following the introduction of a combination store concept
  • Grocery Outlet’s net sales increased by 23.1%


For the three months ended Dec. 26, 2020, Publix’s sales were $11.2 billion, representing a 14.8% increase from $9.8 billion in 2019, while comparable store sales increased 13.4%.

The company estimates its sales for the three months increased approximately $850 million, or 8.7%, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which also boosted sales for the fiscal year approximately $4.6 billion, or 12.1%. Net earnings for the fiscal year ended Dec. 26 were $4 billion, compared to $3 billion in 2019, an increase of 32.2%.

Publix has been one of the most active supermarket chains in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, as well, reported Supermarket News (March 2). The chain has administered over 300,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia as of Feb. 12.


At Dollar Tree, consolidated net sales increased 7.2%, to $6.77 billion, from $6.32 billion in the prior year’s fourth quarter. Enterprise same-store sales increased 4.9% on a constant currency basis, while same-store sales at Family Dollar increased 8.1% and went up 2.4% at Dollar Tree.

Gross profit increased 9.8%, to $2.15 billion, in the quarter compared to the prior year’s fourth quarter. During the quarter, the company opened 124 new stores, expanded or relocated 11 stores, and closed 45 stores. Additionally, the company introduced new combination store formats for small towns which combined Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores in markets where it would traditionally not open a Dollar Tree store alone.

For the fiscal year, consolidated net sales increased 80%, to $25.51 billion. Same-store sales for Family Dollar increased 10.5%, compared to 2.2% at Dollar Tree.


In its fourth quarter ended Jan. 2, Grocery Outlet’s net sales increased by 23.1%, to $806.8 million, which includes $53.3 million from the 53rd week. For the full fiscal year, net sales increased by 22.5%, to $3.13 billion, and comparable store sales increased by 12.7% on a 52-week basis.

The company also opened eight new stores, ending the quarter with 380 stores in six states.

“We believe that our value proposition is as strong as ever, we have ample white space to execute 10% annual unit growth and we remain committed to continuously reinvesting in the business,” said CEO Eric Lindberg in a press release.