Sprouts now has 300 stores, and counting

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
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Sprouts, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country, will celebrate 16 years of operation later this year.

Sprouts Farmers Market has opened its 300th store as the company continues with its bold growth plans.

The retailer's 300th store is located in Simpsonville, S.C., the healthy grocer’s first store in the state, helping meet the growing local demand for fresh, natural and organic products at lower prices.

“As Sprouts continues to expand from coast to coast, we’re pleased with our guests’ response to our unique combination of health and value,” said Sprouts Chief Development Officer Ted Frumkin. “We’re looking forward to celebrating the opening of the 300th Sprouts with our new neighbors in Simpsonville.”

Sprouts, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country, will celebrate 16 years of operation later this year and has experienced rapid expansion to the eastern U.S. supported by its fresh distribution center in Georgia. Phoenix-based Sprouts is opening 16 stores during 2018’s first half. It expects to operate in 19 states by the end of the year.

In a first quarter call with analysts, CEO Amin Maredia said new store productivity was in the low-80s, above its historical average; and that the retailer grew EBITDA by 12%, all resulting in solid cash flow generation.

"Despite tightness in produce supply and slight deflation, we achieved EPS of 50 cents, which beat our internal expectations for the quarter, driven by higher gross margin and labor productivity improvements," Maredia said. "For the first quarter, sales rose to $1.3 billion with strong performance in new stores, a comp of 2.7%, and continued positive traffic. Our private label initiative optimizing our promotions with BI tools and products that are more relevant to our customers are driving comps and adding to the full shopping experience that our customers embrace at Sprouts."

Sprouts’ bold expansion plans come along with its investment not just in just its team members, but also in revamped grass-roots marketing efforts to grow brand awareness, especially in new markets, which has contributed to stronger performance, Maredia said during the company’s Q4 and fiscal 2017 earnings call in February.

Also boosting performance were improved analytics, including better promotional decisions and costs improvements, and continued commitment to sustainability and its zero-waste threshold by 2020, focusing on three major areas: food, field and feed.

Sprouts has been a driving force for innovation in natural and organic foods since its inception, and has paved the way for numerous niche brands, many of which were first carried by the healthy grocer. The Simpsonville store will offer locally made products from South Carolina-based companies, including Black Mountain Chocolate, Bee Well Honey Farm, Hampton Acres and Slawsa.

As part of Sprouts’ commitment to “zero waste,” the new Simpsonville Sprouts will donate unsold and edible groceries to Harvest Hope Food Bank through the grocer’s Food Rescue program. In 2017, Sprouts stores and distribution centers donated 23 million pounds of product, equivalent to 19 million meals. Food that is not fit for donation is provided to local cattle farms and composting facilities. Sprouts’ evolving “zero waste” initiatives help minimize food waste while reducing the impact of hunger and the company’s environmental footprint.