Net earnings for the quarter ended December 29 were $407 million, down 46.9% from the $766.6 posted in 2017, a decrease of 46.9 percent. Earnings per share decreased to $0.57 per share, down from $1.04 per share in 2017. Net earnings and earnings per share for the quarter were negatively impacted by a new accounting standard requiring equity securities be measured at fair value with net unrealized gains and losses from changes in the fair value recognized in earnings.
At the same time, net earnings and earnings per share were boosted by the decreased income tax rate that resulted from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Net earnings and earnings per share for the three months were also positively impacted by the one time remeasurement of deferred income taxes related to the Tax Act.
Excluding the impact of the new accounting standard in 2018 and the one time remeasurement of deferred income taxes in 2017, net earnings for the quarter would have been $660.3 million, up 21.7% from $542.4 million in 2017. Earnings per share would have been $0.92 per share, compared to $0.74 per share in 2017.
Publix’s sales for the fiscal year ended December 29 were $36.1 billion, a 4.45 increase from $34.6 billion in 2017. Comparable store sales for the fiscal year increased 2.1%.
Net earnings for the fiscal year were $2.4 billion, compared to $2.3 billion in 2017, an increase of 3.9%.
Effective March 1, Publix’s stock price increased from $42.70 per share to $42.85 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.
“Our fourth quarter results were impacted by an accounting rule change in 2018 and a one time adjustment due to the Tax Act in 2017,” Publix chief executive officer Todd Jones said in a statement. “Excluding these items, our net earnings were strong in the fourth quarter.”