Publix sees $1 billion sales increase during coronavirus pandemic

(Courtesy: Publix)

While many companies across the country have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, grocery stores like Publix are seeing sizable profits.

The Lakeland-based supermarket chain announced Friday that sales in the first quarter of 2020 increased approximately $1 billion compared to the same time last year, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Related: Publix buying excess milk, produce from farmers and donating it to food banks

Publix and other grocery stores have been deemed essential services amid "stay-at-home" orders across the U.S., and have seen a surge in sales as customers emptied shelves of toilet paper and cleaning supplies. With many restaurants closed, more people have been buying food to cook as well.

“Never before have we experienced a more challenging time,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones in a statement on the company's website. “Our associates’ efforts to serve our customers and communities have been nothing short of extraordinary. I want to thank our associates and couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside them.”

Related: Publix is now selling their own masks

Publix's stock price increased from $48.90 per share to $50.10 per share. However, the stock is not publicly traded, and is available onto to current Publix employees.