US-based supermarket chain Publix has continued its sales growth in the second quarter of this year, with a 3.9% increase over the same period of last year.

The company’s sales grew to $11.8bn in the three-month-period ending 26 June from $11.4bn a year earlier, when it benefitted from consumers’ stockpiling goods amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Its same-store sales also rose by 2.3% on a year-on-year basis.

Despite the growth in sales, Publix’s net earnings for the quarter fell by 26.2% to $1bn, down from $1.4bn in the prior-year period.

The company’s earnings per share (EPS) dropped to $1.46 from $1.94 over the three-month period.

For the six months ending 26 June, Publix saw its sales rise by 3.9% to $23.5bn, compared with $22.6bn a year earlier. Its comparable store sales increased by 2.4%.

The company’s net earnings for the first half increased by 23.1% from $2bn to $2.5bn.

Its EPS also increased during this period from $2.89 to $3.62.

Publix CEO Todd Jones said: “Throughout the pandemic, our associates have continued to provide legendary customer service. I’m so thankful to serve alongside them in making shopping at Publix a pleasure.”

Publix currently operates 1,273 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. Of these stores, 21 were opened within the last year.

The employee-owned company recently updated its Covid-19 guidelines, requiring all employees to wear face masks from 2 August.

The measure came in response to guidance from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding wearing masks amid increasing numbers of cases in the country caused by the Delta variant.

Last October, Publix shared plans to expand its distribution centre in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The expansion would add more than 1.2 million square feet of floor space to the facility to install a dry grocery warehouse.

Publix began the expansion last February and expects it to be completed in the fourth quarter of next year.