Marsh to close 16 stores

Marsh to close 16 stores

Chris Proffitt/Eyewitness News

Fishers - A major announcement from Marsh's new owners: your local supermarket could soon close. Sixteen Marsh stores will close before Thanksgiving.

In Indiana, the list includes one Marsh, six LoBills, two O'Malias, two Arthurs and four Village Pantries. One LoBill in Greenville, Ohio is closing.

Less than a month after completing its $325 million buyout of Marsh, its new CEO Frank Lazaran announced a 10-percent reduction in the company's corporate workforce and the closing of underperforming stores.

Before Thanksgiving Marsh will shutter 16 of its stores. Business analysts call the move aggressive and part of a plan to restore Marsh to profitability.

"They have made this review and found stores that are underperforming. Rather than try to rehabilitate them, they decided that the best course of action was to close them," said John Ketzenberger, Indianapolis Star business columnist.

Lazaran says affected employees can choose between a severance package or relocation. Last Month, Lazaran didn't rule out potential store closings. "You always evaluate your assets as a company and those are the things you look at. You look at those kinds of things," he said.

Thursday's announcement was met with mixed emotions from the grocery chain's customers.

"I try to shop as cheap as possible so I do shop between Aldi's and LoBill's because it's cheaper," said Amanda Randall, LoBill customer.

The store closings run contrary to what former Marsh CEO Don Marsh gave as the primary concern he had before agreeing to a buy-out from Florida-based investment firm, Sun Capital Partners.

"Well, the first thing I looked at was what would happen to my employees. To me, that's very important," Marsh said.

Marsh has steadily lost its share of the competitive grocery business to its bigger competitors. Last month, its new owners indicated that the new Marsh would become a bigger and better player.

"This is not going to be standing still. We're going to try and get the comp sales up and grow the store count," said Scott King, Sun Capital Partners.

Following the buyout, Lazaran said the company looked at sales, locations and future growth potential of all its stores, and decided that the stores slated for closure were not positioned properly. This is the first of what may be several bold moves to make a big company smaller, more competitive and profitable.

As far as the impact on shoppers, Ketzenberger said it was "safe to say a lot of people were already not shopping" at the affected locations.

List of closings (All locations in Indiana unless otherwise noted):

Marsh - 936 E. Washington, Winchester
LoBill - 990 Chester Blvd., Richmond
LoBill - 3919 Madison Ave., Indianapolis
LoBill - 1033 Indianapolis, Greencastle
LoBill - 190 Old Farm Village, Danville
LoBill - 1107 N. Arlington Ave., Indianapolis
LoBill - 3737 E. Washington, Indianapolis
LoBill - 395 Martin, Greenville, OH
O'Malia - 2342 W. 86th St., Indianapolis
O'Malia - 7405 W. 10th St., Indianapolis
Arthurs - 107 W. Pickwick Drive, Syracuse
Arthurs - 5802 West US 52, New Palestine
Village Pantry, 2005 W. Memorial Drive, Muncie
Village Pantry, 3715 E. Jackson St., Muncie
Village Pantry, 312 N. Phillips, Kokomo
Village Pantry, 4 West Main St., Chesterfield