The Buzz – Investment and Stock Market News

Sprouts shares double in IPO

There's a new organic grocery store on Wall Street. And business is booming.

Shares of Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) soared Thursday in the natural foods company's initial public offering.

Sprouts priced its offering of 18.5 million shares at $18. The stock more than doubled on its first day of trading to end at $40.11 a share.

The company said Wednesday that it expects to raise nearly $300 million from the sale.

Phoenix-based Sprouts bills itself as a more affordable alternative for health-conscious shoppers. It had net sales of $2 billion last year and operates 163 stores in eight states, according to its prospectus.

Sprouts' main competitor is Whole Foods (WFM). On Wednesday, Whole Foods reported solid quarterly results and raised its outlook for sales and profits in the current fiscal year. But the company has been struggling with concerns that rising prices could pressure its profit margins.

Whole Foods stock fell slightly Thursday while shares of another organic food grocer, The Fresh Market (TFM), were up more than 1%.

Sprouts isn't the first food chain to successfully debut this year. Fairway (FWM), which has several stores in the New York City area, went public in April at $13. Its stock has nearly doubled since then.