Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. is scheduled to open its first Pennsylvania grocery store today in a rehabilitated train shed on South Broad Street at Washington Avenue in Philadelphia.
The organic and natural foods grocery store is part of a newly developed mixed-use project called Lincoln Square and the new Philadelphia location is part of the Arizona company’s aggressive expansion plans. Sprouts employs 140 people at its Philadelphia store.
During the second quarter, Sprouts opened seven new stores and ventured into South Carolina. It is now in 17 states. Its goal is to open 30 stores this year. The company is expected to add locations in the Philadelphia area and will announce where it intends to open new stores in this fall.
“Our pipeline remains strong with 50 approved sites and 35 signed leases for the coming years,” said Amin N. Maredia, Sprout’s CEO, during its second-quarter conference call with analysts. “During this second quarter, we also passed our 300th store mark, a great achievement in our 16th year of operations.” The company was founded in 2002 with a mission of making healthy food available to the masses and went public in 2013.
For the second quarter, sales increased by 12 percent to $1.3 billion and it had earnings of 32 cents a share. In 2017, it rang in $4.67 billion in sales. Twenty-three percent of its sales are derived from its produce department.
Expanding into new markets has driven much of its growth as opposed to acquiring other grocers, which it has done sparingly. In 2012, it acquired Sunflowers Farmers Market.
The Philadelphia store totals 32,000 square feet and is roughly the size of a typical Sprouts store, said Diego Romer, a company spokesman. By comparison, the Whole Foods in Exton is 50,000 square feet and Wegman’s in King of Prussia is 123,000 square feet.
Just as with many other grocers, a growing area for Sprouts is its private-label products. Revenues from that segment are now more than 25 percent. It also sells prepared foods that are ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat items, another expanding area in the grocery industry.
“We can continue to test product introductions and merchandising with great success as Sprouts continues to become a destination for healthy meals on the go,” Maredia said to analysts.
The grocer has a partnership with Instacart, a home delivery provider. It has that service in 190 stores and will eventually add that to its Philadelphia location.