business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Publix Super Markets generated $8.8 billion in sales during the just-ended quarter, up $400 million over the same period a year ago. Net earnings were $616.2 million, compared to $495.1 million over the same period in 2017. Q2 same store sales were up 1.7 percent.

The story notes that the increases came during a period when “Parkland students and other gun-reform activists encouraged a widespread boycott of the Lakeland-based grocery change due to the company's six-figure contributions to Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor who in a tweet last year declared himself a ‘proud NRA sellout’ … Prior to this decision, Publix had contributed more money to Putnam's campaign for governor than it had ever given to a Florida candidate.” The Parkland students were reacting to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School.

The Times points out that “the protests and boycotts had any bearing on Publix's bottom line, the company didn't say so in the second quarter results posted on Wednesday.  It is possible Publix could have made even more money without the spate of negative publicity. But it seems Florida's largest private company had a rather strong quarter, thanks to the massive tax cuts to corporations approved last year by the Republican-controlled Congress and signed by President Donald Trump.”

One result of the protests was that Publix said it would no longer make political donations.
KC's View:
The Parkland students just learned an important lesson - not every protest is going to have the desired impact. That said, I think it is notable that Publix has backed off some of its political activities, and I continue to admire the students for their passion and dedication.