This company is sprouting up all over the place. A fast-growing natural foods retailer, Sprouts Farmers Market operates about 150 stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. The stores (ranging from 23,000 to 37,000 sq. ft.) sell organic and local produce, baked goods, all-natural meats and seafood, imported cheeses, bulk foods, and vitamins and supplements. Stores also boast more than 300 bins of bulk rice, spices, nuts, and grains. In 2012 Sprouts completed a merger with Sunflower Farmers Market, giving Sprouts the #2 spot in the natural organic retail market, behind Whole Foods Market. Apollo Management holds majority ownership of the combined businesses.
Sprouts Farmers Market increased its store count and extended its retail reach through its May merger with Sunflower Farmers Market. The addition of the Sunflower stores added Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah to its state count and expanded the grocery chain's presence in its existing markets. The rebranding of the Sunflower stores will begin this summer and should be complete by the end of 2012. Backed by Apollo's investment heft and increasing consumer demand for fresh foods, the deal follows Sprouts' acquisition of more than 40 stores operating under the Henry's Farmers Market and Sun Harvest banners from Smart & Final in 2011. Both Sprouts and Henry's were founded years apart by the family of CEO Shon Boney.
While privately-owned Sprouts does not report sales, the trade publication Supermarket News estimates the company rang up about $1.3 billion in sales in 2011. With the addition of the Sunflower business 2012 sales are projected to approach $2 billion.
The 10-year-old company captured second place in the fast-growing natural organic retail grocery market through an active acquisition schedule and organic growth: the building of new stores. Five new stores are slated to debut in summer 2012. Sprouts Farmers Market competes with Whole Foods and other organic chains on price, touting its afforable prices. The company is hoping the merger with Sunflower will widen the price difference between its stores and those of its pricey competitors through efficiencies in purchasing and distribution. – less