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Marsh Supermarkets files for Chapter 11

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Chain has struggled against larger competitors

INDIANAPOLIS — Marsh Supermarkets LLC could close all of its remaining 44 stores if no buyer is found by early July. The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday to maintain operations as it seeks a purchaser.

While the filing was “extremely difficult, we believe this action is necessary to preserve the value of the business as we seek a sale,” said chief executive officer Tom O’Boyle. “After reviewing every alternative, we concluded that Chapter 11 clearly provides the most effective and efficient means to ensure the best recovery for the company’s stakeholders.”

In recent years, Marsh has struggled against larger national and regional chains, including Walmart and Meijer Inc., that have made the Indiana and Ohio grocery marketplace among the nation’s most competitive, the company said. The crowded environment has led to price cutting and other forms of promotional activity that have put profit margins under extreme pressure. Marsh reacted this year by closing 21 unprofitable stores and, in late April, selling its in-store pharmacies to CVS Health.

Founded in 1931, Marsh had more than 100 stories at its peak. The Marsh family sold the company to Sun Capital, a Florida-based investment company, eleven years ago. Since then, the supermarketer has shuttered some stores, renovated others and sought potential buyers. Some individual store buildings were sold to investors.

Under Chapter 11, goods and services purchased by the company after the May 11 filing date, will be paid for in the ordinary course of business.


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