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  • bullet<!--mstheme--> 

    1 large garlic clove, peeled.
      Actually, if you know us at all, you know how much we LOVE garlic, so I used  3 cloves.<!--mstheme-->


    1 teaspoon salt<!--mstheme--><!--msthemelist-->


    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      This makes for a lovely tingling sensation on your lips when you eat the  shrimp.  This amount of cayenne was just right.<!--mstheme-->


    1 teaspoon paprika<!--mstheme--><!--msthemelist-->


    2 tablespoons olive oil<!--mstheme--><!--msthemelist-->


    2 teaspoons lemon juice
      Because I used more garlic than was called for, I compensated with more  olive oil and lemon juice.<!--mstheme-->


    2 pounds of large, brined shrimp, with the shells  still on

  • The authors did some tests and found that the brining lets the shrimp retain more moisture when cooked with a dry method (grilling or pan frying, for example). They recommend a fairly strong salt solution, 3 cups of kosher salt dissolved in 5.5 quarts of water for 20 to 25 minutes

  • It's my opinion the best way to play the Alibaba "card" is with a well-known Japanese company that owns nearly 70% of Sprint (S_) . I'm referring to SoftBank (SFTBY_) which owns and controls 37% of Alibaba. SoftBank's Chairman Jack Ma and other company founders own an additional 10%.

    SoftBank makes its profits through four divisions: Mobile Communications, Broadband Infrastructure, Fixed-line Telecommunications, and Internet Culture. It's in the Internet Culture segment that it operates the Yahoo! Japan portal, which includes Yahoo! Auction and Yahoo! News. It also engages in the sale of Internet advertising, operates e-commerce sites such as Yafuoku! and Yahoo! Shopping and provides membership services to its customers.

    So when you buy shares of SoftBank you own a large piece of Sprint, and significant chunks of Alibaba and Yahoo!. You also own SoftBank's robust mobile communications business where it sells mobile phone handsets, such as Apple (AAPL_) iPhones, iPads, and SoftBank smartphones.

  • FWM has shown substantial increases in sales over the past few years, from net sales of $401.2 million in fiscal 2010 to $554.9 million in fiscal 2012. However, these increases have not led to profitability. FWM posted net losses of $7.1 million, $18.6 million, and $11.9 million in fiscal 2010, fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012, respectively. Notably, FWM reported that net loss jumped sharply to $56.2 million in the 39 weeks ended December 31, 2012

  • Sprouts' growth is on track
    Sprouts reported second-quarter earnings recently. Revenue grew 22% to $622.4 million. Diluted earnings per share came in at $0.10, a 100% increase over last year's quarter. There were no comparable analyst estimates, and the results came roughly inline with the company's guidance. Pro-forma comparable- store sales rose 10.8%, up from 8% in the first quarter. These are robust numbers, and ahead of most of the competition.


    Whole Foods reported a 19% jump in Q3 EPS on a 12% revenue increase. Same-store sales rose 7.5%, but are running at 5.8% in the fourth quarter. Co-CEO Walter Robb said "bring it on" to rivals, including Sprouts, on the late-July conference call.


    Fresh Market's earnings and revenue rose 17% and 13%, respectively, while same-store sales grew 3.4%.


  • Some issues need to be addressed
    Shares of Sprouts have more than doubled since the IPO. That leaves its valuation higher than the competition. Sprouts' price-to-sales ratio now stands at 3, as opposed to Whole Foods' 1.5 ratio and Fresh Market's 1.9 ratio. However, Sprouts is delivering more robust earnings, revenue and same-store sales growth than Whole Foods and Fresh Market.


    Sprouts' profit margins could be pressured as the competition ramps up. With Whole Foods creating pricing pressure, and Wal-Mart and Kroger boosting their organic product offerings, Sprouts' profit margins could shrink.

  • Sprouts' valuation is an issue right now. It is important to pay attention to Sprouts' profit margins, overall earnings and revenue growth, and same-store sales growth to get a grasp of how the company is being managed.
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