Despite announcing last week that it would shutter 11 underperforming stores, Sprouts Farmers Market remains in growth mode.
On Friday, the health-focused grocer will open a new location in Stockton, California, followed by one in The Villages, Florida, on March 17 and another in Merced, California, on March 24. Also in the pipeline are new grocery stores in Lancaster, California, on April 28 and one in Manassas, Virginia, on May 12.
Sprouts has said it intends to open 30 stores in 2023. The grocer debuted 16 new markets in 2022, for a total of 386 stores in 23 states.
All of Sprouts’ new stores are built under its updated footprint, which is 30% smaller than the locations that are slated to close during the first half of the year.
Phoenix-based Sprouts did not respond to a WGB request Monday for a list of stores that are scheduled to close.
“We are pleased with the performance of our more-recent store openings, especially the smaller prototypes,” Sprouts CFO Lawrence “Chip” Molloy told analysts last week. “We’re also encouraged by the momentum of those newer markets as we begin to densify and establish more brand awareness.”
Heading into 2024, Sprouts predicts it will hit 10% annual unit growth and that it “will be able to do that for a long period of time,” CEO Jack Sinclair noted.
New stores could be located anywhere in the country, so long as they are within 250 miles of a Sprouts distribution center, Sinclair said. Sprouts currently has distribution centers in Southern California, Arizona and Texas. Currently, more than 85% of Sprouts stores are within 250 miles of its distribution channels, up from 20% in 2019, the retailer said.
Sprouts’ new Stockton location will open at 7 a.m. Friday, immediately following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The store will employ about 100 workers and will feature local produce from ECO Farms, G&M Farms, George Perry and Sons, and more.
Sprouts is currently hiring 100 people to work in the Merced and the The Villages location. Roles include department managers, cashiers, courtesy clerks, scan coordinator and more. It is also hiring for the same positions for the upcoming opening in Lancaster, and it is recruiting 90 people to work at the new Manassas market.
Last month, Sprouts Farmers Market opened new stores in Dallas; Lathrop, California; and Surprise, Arizona.
For the fourth quarter, Sprouts’ net sales totaled $1.6 billion, up 6% from the year-ago period. For the fiscal year, net sales were $6.4 billion, a 5% jump from the year before. Same-store sales increased 2.9% during the fourth quarter and 2.2% for the year.