Marsh Supermarkets is no backwater grocery chain. A leading retailer in Indianapolis (behind
), Marsh operates 72 supermarkets under the Marsh Supermarkets, O'Malia's Food Markets, and Main Street Markets banners in Indiana and Ohio. More than 50% 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.
Sales and Marketing
The company operates 72 stores (including 38 Indiana pharmacy locations) and online.
While the privately-owned Marsh Supermarkets doesn't publish its financial results, the grocery chain rang up an estimated $924 million in fiscal 2016 (ended March).
The company plans to open up to 13 stores by 2018 amid intense competition.
entered into a long-term supply agreement with Marsh Supermarkets to serve as its primary grocery wholesaler and to provide certain professional services.
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 just over 70 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,
. 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,
, and non-traditional grocery operators, including
. (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.