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The Lakeland Ledger reports that Publix Super Markets remains pretty much on course to fulfill the commitment it made two years ago to build 340 new stores by 2006. There are 69 new stores planned for this year, down slightly from last year’s 76 new units and higher than the 51 opened in 2001.

The company plans to spend about $600 million on new stores, renovations, and warehouse expenses, the Ledger reports.

“The only challenge is the economy, the same as everyone else,” retailing analyst Andrew Wolf tells the paper. “The only chain adding more stores is Wal-Mart, which is adding about 200 stores a year.”

Remarkably, roughly half of Publix’s growth is in its home state of Florida, even as it expands its operations in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee.
KC's View:
The next question seems to be, when will Publix move into North Carolina? It doesn’t seem to be in the cards at the moment, but we’d think that it would be an inevitable move if the company is going to continue to meet its growth targets through 2006 and beyond.