LAKELAND, Fla. — Publix Super Markets here has picked a fight with Florida's struggling economy, and has the bruises to show for it. The state's largest food retailer earlier this month revealed that net earnings in the third quarter had plummeted nearly 19% compared with the same period a year ago, due mainly to aggressive price promotions that brought down gross profits by a full percentage point, to 26% of sales. Product-cost inflation leading to higher inventory charges also impacted ...
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