Marsh Supermarkets has closed two Indianapolis-area stores so far this year and appears ready to close at least two more.
The closures, coupled with reports that the grocery chain has stopped paying rent on as many as six stores in its Indianapolis home town, has fueled speculation that the struggling retailer is headed for bankruptcy.
A message to Marsh seeking comment was not immediately returned.
Marsh closed two of its Indianapolis supermarkets in January and February; another is slated to shut down this weekend, with a fourth expected to close in early April, all due to weak performance, according to the retailer, TheIndyChannel.com reported.
Further closures are expected in the Indiana communities of Richmond and Peru within the next month. The chain operates stores in Indiana and Ohio under the Marsh and O'Malia Food Markets banners.
Meanwhile, Marsh has reportedly stopped paying rent on six Indianapolis stores, blaming the continued reduction of its footprint on stiff competition in the grocery industry, the Indiana Business Journal reported.
The retailer has not paid monthly rent at the locations since fall, and has also been in arrears on property taxes and other fees, as PG reported in January.
Marsh’s store count has shrunk from 120 stores in 2006, when Florida-based Sun Capital Partners acquired the chain, to a current total of 67.
“We are working hard to operate our business effectively in a highly competitive industry, and that means making difficult decisions about a few stores that are no longer viable,” Marsh said in a statement, IBJ reported.
An attorney interviewed by IBJ called the scenario “a recipe for a potential bankruptcy.”