Publix faces unprecedented competition from rivals

Publix-anchored shopping center in Jacksonville.
Publix-anchored shopping center in Jacksonville.

Publix Super Markets, a ubiquitous anchor at Florida shopping centers, faces the most competitive environment in its history as rivals expand their presence in the Sunshine State.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Lakeland-based Publix has gradually lost market share to Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market and to grocers that recently entered the Florida market, including Lucky’s Market and Sprouts Farmers Market.

Innovation is driving some consumers to competitors of  Publix. Lucky’s Market allows customers to drink wine and beer while they push grocery carts equipped with cup holders. Whole Foods Market is introducing its new 365 grocery stores with pubs and restaurants inside.

On the other end of the competitive spectrum, discount grocers including Aldi and Save-A-Lot are competing hard on prices.

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The discounters and the innovators in the grocery business are squeezing Publix, Winn-Dixie, WalMart and other companies that rely on the traditional large supermarket.

Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie has experimented with stores that serve a niche market. The company has opened six Fresco Y Mas grocery stores in South Florida, which cater to Hispanic households.

Phil Lempert, editor of, told the Tampa Bay Times that he expects Publix to start opening smaller-than-average stores to attract millennials: “They don’t want the typical traditional grocery store. They want more curated offerings that fits into a homey, neighborhood-like corner store.”

Publix is scheduled to open a smaller store, spanning 30,000 square feet, in downtown St. Petresburg on Feb. 16. [Tampa Bay Times] Mike Seemuth