The past three years for Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ:SFM) investors has not been profitable

·3 min read

For many investors, the main point of stock picking is to generate higher returns than the overall market. But in any portfolio, there are likely to be some stocks that fall short of that benchmark. We regret to report that long term Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFM) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 18% in three years, versus a market return of about 66%. The falls have accelerated recently, with the share price down 12% in the last three months.

Now let's have a look at the company's fundamentals, and see if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

View our latest analysis for Sprouts Farmers Market

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the unfortunate three years of share price decline, Sprouts Farmers Market actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 21% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or else the company was over-hyped in the past, and so its growth has disappointed.

It's worth taking a look at other metrics, because the EPS growth doesn't seem to match with the falling share price.

We note that, in three years, revenue has actually grown at a 9.1% annual rate, so that doesn't seem to be a reason to sell shares. It's probably worth investigating Sprouts Farmers Market further; while we may be missing something on this analysis, there might also be an opportunity.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Sprouts Farmers Market will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).

A Different Perspective

Sprouts Farmers Market provided a TSR of 4.0% over the last twelve months. But that return falls short of the market. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 1.1% per year over five year. This could indicate that the company is winning over new investors, as it pursues its strategy. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Sprouts Farmers Market .

Sprouts Farmers Market is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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