For many industry observers, it was a sign of how tough the economy really was that Publix Super Markets was among its victims. The Lakeland, Fla.-based retailer had become something of a powerhouse over the previous two decades, behind a fast-growing store base, increasing market shares, leadership in formats and strategies, and fanatical devotion of its customers. But with the sudden downturn in the economy in 2008 — a recession whose impact was felt in Florida as much as ...

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