With 2018 in the books, it’s time to check out the state of the specialty grocery vertical through the lens of store growth, as captured by CSG’s Supermarket, Grocery & Convenience Store Database. Sprouts was the winner in terms of new store openings, boosting net store count from 284 to 320, bettering all competition in net units (36) while posting a healthy 12.7% growth rate. During a year in which much of its focus fell on Florida, Lucky’s Market led the way on a percentage basis, tallying a growth rate of nearly 35% in 2018.

Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s both jumped back into building mode after catching their breath in 2017, adding on 29 and 32 net units, respectively. And if recent reports are to be believed, Whole Foods may be on the cusp of putting up even bigger numbers as Amazon looks to new stores to put more consumers within reach of its Prime Now grocery delivery service.

Natural Grocers, Fresh Thyme and Earth Fare each added around 10 stores, a comfortable pace but one that won’t put any fear into the chains mentioned above. And The Fresh Market continued its downward trajectory since reaching peak build-out in 2015 and being acquired by Apollo Global Management in 2016.