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Working under the tagline, “Where Shopping is a Pleasure,” Publix has been in business since its founding in 1930 by George Jenkins. The grocery store chain operates in seven states in the United States: Florida (where the firm began), Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. Publix is known for its exceptional customer service and has been ranked as one of the best grocery chains in the United States as well as one of the best places to work. Perhaps most interesting of all, Publix is the largest employee-owned business in the country.
Publix’s top management team highlights five essential core competencies that provide competitive advantage: exceptional customer service; high quality products, including organics and in-store brands; clean and inviting stores that are regularly remodeled; competitive pricing with an extra focus on coupons; and convenient locations, many of which are situated in buildings and/or land owned by Publix.
Employee ownership brings a unique spin to the organizational culture at Publix. Operating under the understanding that high performance in the workplace will directly result in financial dividends, Publix’s employees are known for their positivity, helpfulness, and enthusiasm. Employees are strongly encouraged to seek improvements and innovations in whatever part of the business in which they operate, and collectively they enjoy giving back to charitable causes and engaging in eco-friendly business practices. It’s not surprising that Publix’s annual employee turnover rate averages 5% when the industry standard can be as high as 65%.
Among industry peers, Publix is notable for its high operating margins. Nevertheless, it faces stiff competition from rivals, especially since certain demographic segments (such as Millennials) are purchasing less grocery store food and opting instead for prepared foods from other sources. In the Southeast, Publix competes against national chains Kroger, Walmart, and Whole Foods, as well as smaller and regional chains like Food Lion, Aldi, and Lidl. The closest competitor is Wegman’s, which has a similar operating philosophy but focuses on the Northeast.
Publix is currently responding to some trends in the external environment by turning them into opportunities. For example, many people want to spend less time on shopping and cooking, so the firm is responding by exploring online shopping, curbside pick-up, home delivery, and more prepared foods and pre-assembled meal kits. The firm is also offering more natural and organic foods, some of which are in-house brands, to appeal to people wanting to adopt a healthier lifestyle. However, other trends, such as a saturated marketplace and a potential economic downturn, may pose more serious threats to the firm.
Compare and contrast Publix against its new competitors to get a sense of the industry environment. Based on your analysis, discuss what is Publix doing right that gives the firm a competitive advantage? What could Publix learn from competitors?
The assignment requires 2-3 full pages (abstracts, bullets, cover and reference pages, and charts and graphs are not included in the page length). All work must be supported by multiple references that are cited in APA. Submit a separate cover page, reference page, and 50 word abstract.
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