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  1. Business

Hurricane Irma triggers a profit, sales windfall for Publix

Hurricane Irma turned into a windfall for Publix.

The Lakeland-based supermarket chain late Wednesday said earnings jumped 13 percent in its third quarter to $474.9 million, compared to $421.1 million a year ago. Publix said the profit on "incremental sales" from Irma more than offset inventory losses due to power outages and other additional expenses.

Quarterly sales were $8.5 billion, a 6.2 percent increase from last year's $8 billion, with roughly half of that jump tied to the impact of Irma as residents stocked up on supplies.

Publix's sales for the first nine months of 2017 were $25.6 billion, a 3 percent increase. The company estimated sales increased 1 percent due to the impact of Hurricane Irma for the first nine months of 2017.

The figures are based on unaudited reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors. Effective Wednesday, Publix's stock price increased from $36.05 per share to $36.85 per share.