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Marsh Supermarkets taken off sales block

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INDIANAPOLIS — Regional grocer Marsh Supermarkets is apparently no longer for sale.

Regional grocer Marsh Supermarkets is apparently no longer for sale.

Sun Capital Partners Inc., the retailer’s Boca Raton, Fla.-based parent, reportedly has pulled the chain off the selling block after it had hired an investment adviser late last year and began soliciting offers but couldn’t find a buyer.

A Marsh spokeswoman said that Sun Capital currently isn’t seeking a sale of the supermarket operator and doesn’t plan to do so in the near future, according to published reports. She told the Indianapolis Business Journal late last month, "We are committed to growing the company by actively pursuing new store sites and add-on acquisitions while continuing with our remodel schedule for existing locations."

Marsh operates 98 Marsh Supermarkets and three O’Malia’s Food Markets in Indiana and Ohio. About half of the stores are in Indianapolis.

The chain has been grappling with intense competition in its market area from bigger operators such as Kroger Co. and Walmart. Last year Marsh held about a 16% share of its core Indianapolis market, down from 18% a year earlier, according to research by MMR publisher Racher Press Inc. By market share in 2009, Marsh was the No. 3 grocery retailer in Indianapolis, behind Kroger (25%) and Walmart (22%) and ahead of supercenter operator Meijer Inc. (10%).

Sun Capital acquired Marsh in September 2006 in a total deal of more than $300 million, including $88 million in cash and the assumption of debt. Since then, the company has pared the supermarketer’s workforce and operations (including store closures), sold off assets, reduced debt, improved the product mix and remodeled most of its stores.

Marsh chief executive officer Frank Lazaran reportedly told the Indianapolis Business Journal in late 2009 that Sun Capital had made Marsh into a “pure-play grocery chain” with a refreshed store base and a distribution network that could handle as many as 50 new stores.


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