Publix Super Market, Inc.: A Customer Service Leader

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG296
Case Length :14 Pages
Period : 1980 -2011
Pub Date : 2012
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization :Publix Super Market, Inc.
Industry : Retail
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Publix was founded by George W. Jenkins (Jenkins) in 1930. Jenkins left his job as store manager of a grocery chain Piggly Wiggly to open his first store in Winter Haven, Florida, with US$1,300. He named it Publix.

Jenkins placed a board in front of the store which read 'Where Shopping is a Pleasure'. The store offered the best quality goods and focused on customer service. By 1934, annual sales of the store had reached US$ 120,000. In 1935, Jenkins opened the second Publix store. By the end of the 1930s, the store count had gone up to five.

Marketing Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

In 1940, Jenkins mortgaged his orange grove to open Publix's first supermarket in Florida. The store resembled a food palace with innovations never seen before in the grocery market such as marble flooring, eight-foot-wide aisles, air conditioning, fluorescent lighting, frozen food cases, piped-in music, and in-store donut and flower shops. It was reported that people traveled from far off places to shop at the store.

However the Second World War7 halted Publix's expansion. Instead of establishing new stores, Jenkins started acquiring other stores. He purchased 19 grocery stores from a restaurant chain All America. By 1950, Publix had 22 supermarkets with total annual sales of US$ 12.1 million.

After the end of the Second World War, Jenkins restarted the expansion of the Publix chain. He shut down old stores and replaced them with modern ones. In 1951, Jenkins built a 125,000 sq. ft. warehouse and his headquarters in Lakeland. By 1955, gross sales of Publix had increased to US$49 million with earnings of US$830,504. In 1956, Publix recorded its first million-dollar profit year.

At the end of the 1950s, Publix sold its stocks to employees and became an employee-owned company. Between 1959 and 1969, Publix spent around US$63.1 million on expansion. The store count increased from 85 in 1962 to 150 in 1969. The first Publix Deli was set up in 1963. As an early promotional tool, Publix offered S & H Green Stamps8 to customers for a certain amount of shopping. The stamps could be redeemed.

Excerpts - Next Page >>

7] The Second World War took place between 1939 and 1945.
8] S&H Green Stamps were very popular in the US between the 1930s and the 1970s. Customers received S&H stamps from cashiers at supermarkets, gas stations, and other retail stores and redeemed them for merchandise from local Green Stamps stores.

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