Sprouts to open three new stores in Southern California

April 4, 2019

By Kevin Smith | San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Sprouts Farmers Market will expand its footprint with 13 new stores this year including three in Southern California, the fast-growing organic grocer announced Thursday.

That will boost the company’s total to 340 stores in 22 states. The new local supermarkets, which average 30,000 square feet, will be in West Covina, West Hollywood and Lake Forest. Each will employ about 140 workers, so they will collectively bring about 420 jobs to the region.

Other locations will be opening this year in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. Sprouts currently operates 118 stores in California.

Lots of local stores

Sprouts is no stranger to Southern California. Existing stores can be found in Pasadena, Whittier, Burbank, Torrance, Claremont, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, Huntington Beach, Thousand Oaks, Valencia and Orange, among other locations.

“California is an important state for Sprouts,” company spokesman Diego Romero said. “We’re continuing to expand across the state in new and existing communities. Whenever we open a new store we’ll have hundreds of people lined up at the doors.”

Sprouts touts itself as a grocery chain that “appeals to everyday shoppers interested in fresh, natural and organic products at affordable prices.” Its stores offer fresh produce, meat and seafood from The Butcher Shop and Fish Market and freshly prepared entrees and sides at the Market Corner Deli. The stores also sell bulk foods, dairy and bakery items and a variety of vitamins and supplements.

Many of the products are organic and gluten-free.

Well positioned

“Sprouts is very well positioned,” said Burt Flickinger III, managing director for the retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group. “They’ve been able to consistently grow in both Southern California and across the country while many traditional supermarket chains are struggling or contracting.”

Flickinger attributes the company’s success to low prices and a strong management team. Jim Nielsen, Sprouts’ interim co-CEO, president and chief operating officer, is “a tremendous leader,” he said, and other members of the team have 25 to 35 years experience in the industry.

“When we did pricing surveys for the exact same product, Sprouts was 10 to 15 percent lower than Whole Foods,” he said. “That could save a family of five in Southern California $700 to $800 a year. And close to 50 percent of their business is in produce — that’s the fastest growing segment in retail.”

Whole Foods, which also sells fresh, organic foods, hasn’t fared as well.

“They have not had strong cost-control discipline,” Flickinger said. “They were struggling even before Amazon bought them.”

Grand opening dates for the new Sprouts markets in Southern California will be announced later this year. Exact store locations are listed below:

  • West Covina – Citrus Street and Workman Avenue
  • West Hollywood – 8550 Santa Monica Blvd.
  • Lake Forest – 24332 Rockfield Blvd.

New enhancements

The West Covina store will be one of three locations to feature the company’s newest operational and design enhancements. The upgraded Market Corner Deli will include a detached, rectangular island to optimize customer service, with made-to-order sandwiches, a salad bar, prepared foods, sushi made in-store and fresh juice.

Sprouts didn’t reveal how much its workers are paid but figures from Indeed.com show Sprouts cashiers average $11.20 an hour. Deli managers average $15.84, customer service representatives average $12.07 and order pickers are paid $13.52 an hour.

Information about employment opportunities with Sprouts can be found at about.sprouts.com/careers/.

“Last year we created 3,500 jobs and we promoted 28 percent of our store team members,” Romero said.