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Publix’s Q2 earnings rise amid lower tax rate and new accounting rule

BY Marianne Wilson

Publix Super Market’s sales and earnings rose in the second quarter despite a calendar shift in the timing of the Easter calendar.

The grocer’s net income rose to 24.5% to $616.2 million, or 84 cents per share, from $495.1 million, or 65 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Publix noted that earnings were boosted by a decrease in the federal statutory income tax rate, from 35% to 21%, when the new tax law went into effect this year, as well as by a new accounting standard.

Sales rose 4% to $8.4 billion. Comparable-store sales rose 1.7%, with a negative impact of 1.2% from the Easter holiday being in the first quarter in 2018 versus in the second quarter last year, the company noted.

As of Aug. 1, Publix’s stock price rose from $41.75 per share to $42.55 per share. (The company’s stock is not publicly traded and is sold only to current associates and members of its board of directors.)

“Since the beginning of the year, our stock price has increased from $36.85 to $42.55, over 15%,” Todd Jones, president and CEO of Publix, said in a statement. “Our associates deserve the credit for continuing to make us a leader in customer service.”

Publix operates 1,190 stores throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

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Kroger reportedly considering extending Visa ban

BY CSA Staff

The Kroger Co. is at odds with Visa over swipe fees.

The supermarket giant will no longer accept Visa credit cards at 26 stores and gas stations that operate under its Foods Co. banner, reported Barrons.com, which cited a report by Bloomberg. The report said that Kroger is considering expanding the ban to other stores.

Chris Hjelm, Kroger’s chief information officer, told Bloomberg that that card fees are “out of alignment” and “we don’t believe we have a choice but to use whatever mechanism possible to get it back in alignment.”

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Furniture company files for bankruptcy—again

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

The parent company of furniture brands including Thomasville & Co. and Broyhill has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Heritage Home Group LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday, a move that will enable the company to secure funds to help it pay down $280 million worth of debt, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company blames its financial problems on changing consumer patterns and industry conditions, sharper competition and a loss of faith by retailers in its ability to deliver product, the report said.

The company already has a $17.45 million offer from RHF Investments Inc. for its luxury line, which consists of the Hickory Chair, Pearson, Maitland-Smith, and La Barge brands. That deal could close by September. Another deal is currently being negotiated for the company’s Broyhill and Thomasville business units, according to an affidavit.

Based on these transactions, Home Heritage will apply up to $98 million to refinance existing debt, and some working capital. The company also anticipates spending about $60 million to support its business through the end of October, according to the bankruptcy documents.

This is not Heritage Home Group’s first bankruptcy filing. The company evolved following the 2013 bankruptcy of the Thomasville, Broyhill and Lane furniture brands.

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