Will they or won’t they? That’s the question regarding a rumored Sprouts Farmers Markets acquisition of Henry’s Farmers’ Market. That an acquisition was under discussion was first reported in early January by the blog freshneasybuzz.blogspot.com; the story was then picked up by Supermarket News.
According to Sprouts Spokeswoman Kim Rockley, an acquisition is not underway at this time.
“While there have been some discussions between the organizations in recent months, at this time there is NO deal in place to merge Sprouts and Henry’s. Our primary business focus right now is getting the new year off to a fast start, including the opening of the 55th Sprouts store, in Fort Worth, Texas on Jan. 26.
There have been many similar rumors over the years about bringing Sprouts and Henry’s together, which is understandable given their common heritage,” she says.
The stores’ shared heritage is the Boney family. In 1943 the Boneys opened a farm stand in San Diego that eventually became Henry’s. After a brief ownership under Wild Oats and Whole Foods, the 46-store chain was bought by Smart and Final. In 2002, the Boney family opened Sprouts in Arizona and now operates 54 stores in four states.
An acquisition of Henry’s/Sun Harvest by Sprouts would not surprise some industry experts. “An acquisition (or a merger of the two entities) makes sense to me,” says Bill Crawford, director of retail publishing programs for New Hope Natural Media.
“I don’t know enough of the finances of either company to speculate on the whether or not this would be likely, but I do know enough of their operations to see a lot of synergies. Combining their resources in California, which is a challenging market these days, would be great for them.
The Sun Harvest stores in Texas would be a nice fit for the presence that Sprouts has grown there in the past few years,” Crawford says.