The timing of Easter played a part in lower earnings and sales at Publix Super Markets, Inc. in the first quarter of 2017.

Net income in the quarter ended April 1 was $555,271,000, equal to 73 cents per share on the common stock, down 5% from $581,889,000, or 75 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Sales also were lower, decreasing to $8,685,145,000 from $8,722,190,000. Lakeland, FL-based Publix said the sales decline was primarily due to a 2.1% decrease in comparable store sales.

“Our results were impacted by the timing of Easter, which was in the first quarter in 2016,” said Todd Jones, president and chief executive officer of Publix. “Our associates continue to work hard every day to make shopping a pleasure at Publix.”

Publix is engaged in the retail food industry, operating supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina. The company will expand its retail operations into Virginia later this year. As of April 1, Publix operated 1,146 supermarkets. For the three months ended April 1, 11 supermarkets were opened (including one replacement supermarket) and 32 supermarkets were remodeled. The replacement supermarket that opened during the three months ended April 1 replaced the one supermarket that closed during the same period.

“In the normal course of operations, the company replaces supermarkets and closes supermarkets that are not meeting performance expectations,” Publix noted in a May 1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “The impact of future supermarket closings is not expected to be material.”