Sprouts Farmers Market downgraded to Underperform from Buy at BofA/Merrill
BofA/Merrill analyst Robert Ohems downgraded Sprouts Farmers Market to Underperform from Buy and cut its price target to $21 from $35 following CEO Amin Maredla's plans to leave the company. Ohems believes Maredla is leaving to pursue other interests, but said the transition comes at a difficult time given expectations Q4 and 1H 2019 are already expected to be challenging. The analyst expects Q4 margin headwinds from increased investments in technology, training and wages, which should persist into 1H 2019. Further, Ohems sees risk to the company's same-store-sales outlook due to produce deflation and lower comp contribution from new stores.