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New competitor in natural foods Sprouts up


NEW YORK — Sprouts Farmers Market, a Phoenix-based natural-foods supermarket chain, has reached an agreement to merge with competitor, Sunflower Farmers Market, based in Boulder, Col. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The combined company will operate 139 stores in eight states under the Sprouts banner, with annual sales of approximately $2 billion. It will open about 12 new stores this year.

“Our operations are very similar," said Sprouts president Doug Sanders, who will lead the combined supermarket company.

Currently, Sunflower operates 35 stores in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

"This is a combination that makes great sense given the rapid growth in demand for natural and organic products and the complementary nature of the geography of the two companies," said Andrew S. Jhawar, a senior partner at Apollo Global Management LLC, which acquired a majority stake in Sprouts in 2011.

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