Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market is sitting pretty on 4.6% same store sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, and 2.9% total same store sales growth for the fiscal year.

CEO Amin Maredia and CFO Brad Lukow gave a preliminary look into the company’s fourth quarter and year-end earnings, along with an outlook for 2018 at the ICR Conference in Orlando on Jan. 9.

Maredia said Sprouts expects to report at 15.3% net sales growth for 2017.

When asked why Sprouts continues to flourish when competitors with similar formats, like Kroger’s Main & Vine and 365 by Whole Foods Market are closing stores, Maredia said Sprouts’ execution makes the difference.

“From a category standpoint, we’ve got the value retailers, conventionals and then everybody else,” he said. “And in then everybody else, every format you walk in and it always looks like it’s easy to emulate or copy. We can all walk into a Chick-fil-a right now and go, how hard is this? But it is.”

“There’s so much noise in the industry about pricing and pressing vendors,” Maredia said. “That’s not an issue for us because we execute.”

William Kirk, analyst for RBC Capital Markets asked what Sprouts is seeing from increasing price and assortment pressure from Whole Foods, particularly in produce, and Lukow reiterated Maredia’s assertion about Sprouts’ execution.

“I think we monitor every single competitor extremely closely, market by market,” he said. “And all I’ll say is that we’ve continued to execute our strategy around everything we do, including pricing. And, as evidenced by our last two quarters in a row at 4.6% comp, I think it speaks for itself in terms of relevance with our consumer set.”

Go HERE for a full replay of the webcast.

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