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The Tampa Tribune reports that Publix has decided against expanding the reach of its PublixDirect e-grocery service beyond its current South Florida service area, at least for the time being.

While Tom O’Connor, president of PublixDirect, tells the paper that the e-commerce initiative has “pretty much” hit its projections, and that a commitment to the concept remains, a planned expansion into Orlando and Atlanta will be delayed “pending further results in South Florida.”

O’Connor said that PublixDirect serves some 7,000 customers a week in South Florida.
KC's View:
Publix officials had told MNB that they expected online grocery shopping to eventually generate as much as 20-25 percent of the company’s total volume. While there may no longer be that level of optimism, there’s no reason to think that the company is abandoning the premise altogether.

Rather, it seems that Publix is simply stepping back to wait out the current economic slowdown, hoping that when it is over, the market for an e-grocery service will have improved.

Internet businesses aren’t for the faint of heart.