The best debut for an IPO in the US this year is not a tech company, but an organic foods grocer. Shares in Sprouts Farmers Market went up by more than 120% in their first day of trading yesterday, closing at $40.11. That’s a better performance than the first day of trading of LinkedIn (109%) in 2011 and big data firm Splunk (109%) in 2012.
Sprouts, which is backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, is based in Arizona and has about 160 stores in the western and middle regions of the US. It focuses on organic and natural foods, and also hosts free events with nutritional experts, doctors and chefs.
The healthy eating trend in the US has been a boon for companies like Sprouts. Bigger rival Whole Foods has seen its shares rise by almost 20% this year, although it reported a slow down in same store sales earlier this week, causing shares to fall. Shares of Sprouts were down today by about 3.6%, but that’s still more than double its IPO price of $18.
Sprouts follows another big debut for a food-related company, Noodles & Co. The restaurant and store chain saw its shares rise by 104% in its market debut in July. That was the second best IPO debut this year.