LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets here said Monday that sales and earnings climbed in the first quarter despite a continuing weak economy. Sales for the first quarter totaled $6.8 billion, a 4.4% increase from a year ago. Comparable-store sales for the first quarter of 2011 increased 2.8%. Net earnings for the first quarter were $398.2 million, compared with $364.4 million in 2010, an increase of 9.3%, the company added. Earnings per share for the first quarter increased to 51 cents ...
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