SOURCE: Sprouts Farmers Market

Sprouts Farmers Market

May 29, 2012 15:00 ET

Sprouts Farmers Market and Sunflower Farmers Market Complete Merger; Commence Operations as Sprouts

Combined Company Will Accelerate Growth and Optimize Offerings for Customers

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - May 29, 2012) - Sprouts Farmers Market ("Sprouts"), one of the country's leading natural foods grocers, and Sunflower Farmers Market ("Sunflower"), an independent chain of 37 nautral foods stores, announced today the closing of the merger of the two companies. The merger further solidifies Sprouts' standing as one of the larger grocers in the Western United States, with projected 2012 annual revenues approaching $2 billion. The combined company currently operates 144 stores, with six more scheduled to open this year, and employs approximately 11,000 people.

The addition of the Sunflower stores expands Sprouts' geographic footprint to Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Oklahoma and further extends its presence in the states of California, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. All of the Sunflower stores will be re-branded under the Sprouts banner. The conversions will begin in July and occur in phases through the end of the year. The stores will receive new interior and exterior signage, updated fixtures and an expanded merchandise mix.

Sprouts will remain headquartered in Phoenix, and Sunflower's corporate headquarters in Phoenix and Boulder will be consolidated into the Sprouts office.

Shon Boney, CEO of Sprouts, said, "Everyone at Sprouts is eager to work with the Sunflower team to build a stronger company. In joining forces, we will create a company that is not only bigger, but better -- and continue to provide our signature shopping experience with a strong commitment to value and natural products. The customers and employees of both stores have a lot to look forward to as we launch this great adventure."

About Sprouts
Sprouts traces its lineage back to Henry Boney, a San Diego entrepreneur who opened his first business, a fruit stand at the corner of 71st and El Cajon Boulevard near La Mesa, California, in 1943. Over the years, he and his family started and sold many retail businesses, including Speedee Mart, Boney's and Windmill Farms.

The second generation of Boney's stores were opened in 1969 by Henry's sons, Stan, Steve, and later Scott. The name was changed to Henry's Marketplace in 1997. The Boney family ran Henry's until 1999, when the stores were sold to Wild Oats Markets, Inc., which later sold them again.

Henry's son, Stan, and his grandson, Shon, along with family friends Kevin Easler and Scott Wing, returned to the natural foods business in 2002 when they opened the first Sprouts Farmers Market store in Chandler, Arizona. Sprouts grew rapidly, and just last year reunited with Henry's in a merger sponsored by Apollo Management, L.P., which is now the majority owner of Sprouts.

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