Sprouts Farmers Markets announces plans for 1,200 U.S. stores. In response, Whole Foods Market ups its projections to 1,200 stores from 1,000 stores. Fresh Thyme targets the Midwest for 50 stores, saying there are “gaps” in service from conventional grocers they plan to exploit. Mrs. Green’s, with nearly 20 stores in the northeast now, sets a goal of 20 new stores, branching out even more to the Midwest in the next couple of years. Earth Fare moves out of its southeastern hub up into the Midwest with store counts climbing over 30. Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, with 81 stores, plans 15–20 openings per year for the foreseeable future.