Marsh Supermarkets is no backwater grocery chain. A leading retailer in Indianapolis (behind Kroger and Wal-Mart), Marsh operates about 80 supermarkets under the Marsh Supermarkets, O'Malia's Food Markets, and Main Street Markets banners in Indiana and Ohio. About 40% of the stores have pharmacy departments. Its floral business -- Marsh Floral Fashions -- operates floral and gift departments inside Marsh stores. Marsh abandoned self-distribution in 2011 and turned over the supply of all of its stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers. Founded in 1931 by the late Ermal Marsh, the regional supermarket operator is owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners.
Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets has stores in Indiana and Ohio.
While the privately-owned Marsh Supermarkets doesn't publish its financial results, the grocery chain rang up an estimated $1.1 billion in fiscal 2013 (ended March), down from $1.5 billion six years ago.
Amid shrinking sales, Marsh in January 2014 shuttered eight stores in Franklin, Lebanon and Muncie, Indiana whose leases were expiring. The supermarket chain cited a shrinking customers base for the closures. The action was the first in a three-year plan implemented in 2014 to position the company for growth and profitability. On the plus side the chain opened the first new grocery store in downtown Indianapolis in 30 years in May 2014. (It was the first new location opened by Marsh since it was acquired by Sun Capital in 2006. Indeed, under Sun's ownership Marsh has shrunk from 97 supermarkets to about 80 locations. )
The regional supermarket chain is updating many of its stores in Indiana and Ohio in the face of increasing competition from out-of-state grocers, such as Kroger, Giant Eagle, and Whole Foods. Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle may build as many as six stores around Indianapolis, its first locations in Indiana.
Previous actions to stem losses at Marsh include slashing $70 million in overhead, selling about $80 million in real estate, and spinning off non-grocery businesses, including a caterer, florist, and convenience store chain. Nevertheless, it's struggling to regain market share lost to its archrival, Kroger, and non-traditional grocery operators, including Wal-Mart and Target. (Marsh's market share is about 16% vs. 27% for Kroger and 33% for Wal-Mart.)
The Marsh family sold the company to Sun Capital Partners (SCP) for about $325 million in 2006. After restoring the grocery chain to profitability, SCP put it up for sale in late 2009, but took it off the market in 2010 when it failed to attract a buyer.