Sales and other financial performance measures improved for southeastern retail chain Publix in the first quarter of 2018.

First quarter sales totaled $9.3 billion in the quarter, up 6.8 percent from the first quarter of 2017. Comparable store sales also were up, by 5.1 percent; and net earnings, at $680 million, rose 23 percent higher than the prior year.

Publix also reported earnings per share of 93 cents in the first quarter, 20 cents more than last year at the same time. And the company’s stock price increased from $41.40 to $41.75 per share effective May 1. The stock is not publicly traded and is sold only to Publix associates and board members.

“I’m proud of our team’s results and pleased with our stock price increase considering the volatility in the stock market,” says Todd Jones, Publix’s president and CEO.