Sprouts Farmers Market sales hit record high


Perhaps no other retailer is profiting as well from Americans' changing eating habits than Sprouts Farmers Market, which reported record sales and earnings for the fourth quarter.

The Arizona-based grocer said that same-store sales during the period ended Jan. 3 rose 7.4%. Net income was $28.2 million and diluted earnings per share were 18 cents. Net sales were $3.59 billion, a 21% increase compared to reported net sales in 2014. Adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.86, a 19% increase from 2014.

“As more and more Americans embraced our 'Healthy Living for Less' model, Sprouts’ position of strength in the industry continued to grow in 2015,” said Amin Maredia, chief executive officer of Sprouts Farmers Market. “Our unique combination of health, value and customer engagement resulted in industry leading comps of 5.8% and strong earnings growth in the high teens. This momentum enables us to focus on our strategic priorities, including product and category innovation, in and out-of-store customer experience and developing team members who can lead our new stores as we continue to grow.”

For the 53-week fiscal year ended Jan. 3, net sales were $3.59 billion, a 21% increase compared to 2014. On a 52-week comparable basis, net sales increased 19% to $3.52 billion. Net income for the year was $129.0 million, or diluted earnings per share of 83 cents, up $21.3 million from 2014.

During the fourth quarter Sprouts opened one new store in Texas. In fiscal 2015 it opened a total of 27 new stores: one each in Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah; two each in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and Tennessee; three each in Alabama and California; four in Georgia and five in Texas. This resulted in unit growth of 14% and the addition of three new states, for a total of 217 stores in 13 states as of Jan. 3.

Sprouts recently announced it would open its first store in Florida, in the Tampa Bay area.

Looking ahead Sprouts said it expects same-store sales growth of 4.5% to 6% for fiscal 2016.

Also on Thursday, Sprouts said Brad Lukow was joining the company as its new CFO. Lukow, who will join the company March 4, has more than 20 years of experience in retail, including six years as CFO of Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada’s largest drug chain. Susannah Livingston had been serving as interim CFO since last summer when Maredia was promoted from CFO to CEO. Livingston will remain with Sprouts in her capacity as VP of investor relations and treasury. Maredia was also named to the board of directors of Sprouts this week, replacing Andrew Jhawar, who resigned.