US grocery operator Publix has recorded an increase in annual profits on the back of rising sales.

For the year ended 25 December, the Florida-based grocer’s net earnings rose 15.2% to reach US$41.3bn.

Sales were up 3.3% to $25.1bn. Comparable-store sales rose 2.3% for the year.

The employee-owned grocer said net earnings rose 20.4% during the fourth quarter to reach $342.1m, while sales rose 4.4% to reach $6.4bn. Comparable-store sales were up 3.2%.

Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw said yesterday (1 March): “I’m very pleased that our net earnings exceeded the record earnings we achieved in 2007, and our stock price has returned to its all-time high after considering stock splits. Our associates deserve the credit for delivering these results in a difficult economic environment.”