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Sprouts pivots on pickup, plans to expand service nationwide

Over the next two weeks, Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market BB #:168563 plans to expand grocery pickup to all of its 340 stores nationwide, starting with markets in Los Angeles and Central California.

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted the 180 degree shift in direction for the retailer, whose CEO recently said it planned to focus more on grocery delivery than pickup.

During the company’s February 20 earnings call, CEO Jack Sinclair said customers were not as interested in pickup.

“I think in terms of the broader strategic challenge of this or thinking through of this one, pickup doesn’t seem to be something that’s really a big part of how our customers want to interface with our brand,” he said, during the call. “In terms of delivery, smaller stores or bigger stores…both of them fulfill the need for home delivery for our customers pretty effectively when we do it.”

That mentality has changed, with demand for online grocery up nearly 200%, according to Brick Meets Click, a Chicago-based e-commerce consultancy.

Before the announcement, Sprouts offered grocery pickup at only 55 stores.

The company said in a news release the grocery pickup expansion will be fulfilled by Instacart.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.