Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ: SFM) and Safeway (NYSE:SWY) are both mid-cap retail/wholesale companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, risk, valuation, earnings, analyst recommendations, profitability and dividends.


This table compares Sprouts Farmers Market and Safeway’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Sprouts Farmers Market 3.40% 21.81% 9.07%
Safeway -0.26% -1.66% -0.69%

Risk and Volatility

Sprouts Farmers Market has a beta of 0.84, suggesting that its share price is 16% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Safeway has a beta of 1.09, suggesting that its share price is 9% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Sprouts Farmers Market and Safeway, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Sprouts Farmers Market 2 7 12 0 2.48
Safeway 0 0 0 0 N/A

Sprouts Farmers Market currently has a consensus price target of $26.94, indicating a potential upside of 6.78%. Given Sprouts Farmers Market’s higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe Sprouts Farmers Market is more favorable than Safeway.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Sprouts Farmers Market and Safeway’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Sprouts Farmers Market $4.66 billion 0.72 $158.44 million $1.14 22.13
Safeway N/A N/A N/A $0.12 292.50

Sprouts Farmers Market has higher revenue and earnings than Safeway. Sprouts Farmers Market is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Safeway, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

91.0% of Sprouts Farmers Market shares are owned by institutional investors. 2.6% of Sprouts Farmers Market shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.


Sprouts Farmers Market beats Safeway on 9 of the 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

Sprouts Farmers Market Company Profile

Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. is a food retailer. The Company operates as a grocery store that offers fresh, natural and organic food that includes fresh produce, bulk foods, vitamins and supplements, packaged groceries, meat and seafood, deli, baked goods, dairy products, frozen foods, body care and natural household items catering to consumers’ interest in health and wellness. As of February 23, 2017, the Company operated 256 stores in 14 states. The Company categorizes the varieties of products it sells as perishable and non-perishable. The perishable product categories include produce, meat, seafood, deli and bakery. Its non-perishable product categories include grocery, vitamins and supplements, bulk items, dairy and dairy alternatives, frozen foods, beer and wine, and natural health and body care.

Safeway Company Profile

Safeway Inc., is an food and drug retail company. The Company owns and operates GroceryWorks.com Operating Company, LLC, an online grocery channel doing business under the names Safeway.com and Vons.com. Blackhawk, a majority-owned subsidiary of Safeway, is a prepaid payment network utilizing proprietary technology to offer gift cards, other prepaid products and payment services. Blackhawk’s payment network supports its three primary constituents: consumers who purchase the products and services Blackhawk offers, content providers who offer branded products that are redeemable for goods and services, and distribution partners who sell the products. Blackhawk’s product offerings include gift cards, prepaid telecom products and prepaid financial services products, including general purpose reloadable cards and Blackhawk’s reload network.

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