Phoenix, AZ—On March 9, 2012, a planned merger was announced between Sprouts Farmers Market and Sunflower Farmers Market to eventually become one under the Sprouts Farmers Market name.

The brands will combine into 142 stores plus several more planned to open in 2012, with Sunflower bringing in 35 stores. These locations will expand the Sprouts name into Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Oklahoma and add to the number of stores already in California, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. Together, more than 10,000 people will be employed under the Sprouts umbrella with hundreds of new positions to be added each year, about 750 in 2012, while trying to retain as many existing positions as possible, according to Sprouts. Majority ownership will be held by Apollo Management, the owners of Sprouts, with representation from Sunflower’s ownership on the Board as well. Corporate operations will be located at the Sprouts offices in Phoenix, AZ.

The companies hope the merger brings only the best for their customers by continuing to provide their favorite products while making more available with better access to suppliers and keeping prices low, says Sprouts. When questioned about why they chose to combine under the Sprouts name, the company said, “We have studied many mergers, and been through one just last year, so we know that the best way to gain synergy is to unite under one brand name. This will help us generate greater recognition for our brand and keep our expenses down.” Sprouts merged with Henry’s Farmers Markets/Sun Harvest Farms in April 2011.

Once the deal is finalized, Sprouts will make up one of the largest grocery retailers specializing in fresh and natural foods in the region. “In terms of products and service, we will take the best of both companies to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts,” says Sprouts. The two companies hope to be making changes to stores together as early as the summer or fall of 2012.

Sprouts was founded in 2002 and operates stores ranging in size from 12,000 to 37,000 ft2. It had sales of over $1 billion in 2011.

 Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2012 (online 3/13/12)