Marsh Supermarkets Is Closing 18 Stores
Marsh Supermarkets Company, LLC, an 86-year-old grocery retail company based in Indiana, is closing down 18 of its stores in Indiana and Ohio.
The company had put up all of its remaining 44 stores for bidding, after filing for bankruptcy in May. The 18 stores now being closed had remained unsold after Marsh offered them up for sale to potential acquirers Kroger Co and Fresh Encounter Inc.
Ohio-based grocers Kroger Co and Fresh Encounter Inc came forward to buy 26 stores from the struggling grocer earlier this week. Kroger bid $16.0 million for 11 stores, while Fresh Encounter is offering $8.0 million for 15 stores.
The remaining 18 stores could not find a suitable buyer, and are now closing. Liquidation sales have begun at the 18 stores, as well as at the 11 stores sold to Kroger. Kroger will take over the stores once they have been cleared.
In May, Marsh closed 19 additional stores when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it struggled with a heavy debt load.
According to its bankruptcy filing, Marsh has negative equity, with assets listed at only around $50,000 and liabilities somewhere between a staggering $50.0 million and $100.0 million.
The company was forced to file for bankruptcy protection to ward off a long list of creditors that have been coming after Marsh with hefty claims.
Management had hoped to restructure the company, but the company also sent a fair warning to its stakeholders that it may have to close all of its stores in the next two months if it failed to find buyers. Marsh had to act fast, as the grocer had perishable items sitting on its shelves.
The company acknowledges that a lack of timely investments into adapting to a dynamic retail environment led to the grocer’s demise. The company is reported to have invested only $15.0 million on remodeling its stores in the last two years, while its major two rivals—Kroger and Meijer, Inc.—jointly invested more than $100.0 million.
Back in 2006, the grocery chain had as many as 116 grocery stores and 154 convenience stores across the United States.
“Bankruptcy court approves sale of 26 Marsh stores; 18 unsold stores to close,” CBS4 WTTV-TV, June 14, 2017.
“Two Ohio grocers agree to buy 26 Marsh stores for $24M,” Indianapolis Business Journal, June 13, 2017.
“Marsh files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, still seeking buyer,” Indy Star, May 11, 2017.