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Sprouts sees big gains early in 2014

Sprouts Farmers Market is soaring past expectations to start 2014, reporting an 86 percent increase in profit through the year's first quarter.

The Phoenix Business Journal reports that the Phoenix-based natural grocer saw its income grow by 86 percent over the first quarter of 2013, totaling about 22 cents per share.

Sprouts experienced a 26 percent jump in revenue, generating $722.6 million across both existing and new stores. The brand opened its first Kansas City location, as well as two in California and one in Oklahoma to bring its total to 172 stores operating in nine states.

"Sprouts' focus on value is resonating with a broad and growing base of customers who now have the opportunity to purchase healthy food at an affordable price. This has resulted in 28 consecutive quarters of positive same store sales growth and record first quarter financial performance that outperformed our targets," said Doug Sanders, president and CEO.

"Given our strong business momentum and impressive first quarter results we are increasing our annual guidance, and feel confident in achieving our growth plans," said Sanders.

Sprouts' 2014 growth is on the opposite end of the spectrum from competitor Whole Foods, which lowered its sales and profit forecasts for the year despite an increase in revenue.

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