- Midwestern grocery retailer Marsh Supermarkets filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday after cost-cutting initiatives failed to revive the company, according to Reuters.
- The company told Indiana state officials it may close up to 16 more stores if it can’t find a business partner or be sold in the next two months, according to Supermarket News. The struggling retailer already has announced it would close 19 stores this month.
- The company has retained New York investment bank Peter J. Solomon Co. to help it with its finances and find strategic alternatives. For now, Its remaining 44 stores will remain open while the retailer seeks a buyer for all of part of its business.
Things have not looked good for Marsh Supermarkets of late so its bankruptcy filing is hardly a surprise. It already closed three stores this year and failed to pay rent on six locations in Indianapolis. It recently announced 19 stores would be shut down in May.
Trouble is nothing new for the chain. Back in 2006, it found itself on the verge of bankruptcy, but was saved when it was acquired by Sun Capital Partners. However, that led to a dispute with former CEO Don Marsh over millions of dollars in improper expenses — including potential visits to a mistress using the retailer’s private plane. In 2013, a jury ordered Marsh to pay the company he formerly oversaw $2.2 million.
Marsh is working with the same firm that Central Grocers used when it announced it would seek strategic alternatives; it filed for bankruptcy last week. The operator of high-end grocery Fairway also filed for bankruptcy a year ago.
The struggles Marsh faces is being seen elsewhere in the industry, as chains must battle to separate themselves from the pack. The demise of Central Grocers, and the challenges facing Marsh, are nothing new as retailers deal with Lidl's arrival, other brick-and-mortar stores ramping-up their offerings, grocery deliver services like Instacart and heavyweights such as Wal-Mart and Amazon. It would not be a surprise to see other struggling grocers become the next Marsh.