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    Marsh Supermarkets Posts Decrease in Third-quarter Profit

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Regional chain Marsh Supermarkets Inc. on Tuesday reported a sharp decrease in fiscal third-quarter profit as competition and a weak retailing environment stunted sales growth.

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Regional chain Marsh Supermarkets Inc. on Tuesday reported a sharp decrease in fiscal third-quarter profit as competition and a weak retailing environment stunted sales growth.

    The retailer -- which also announced a two-cent increase to 13 cents for its quarterly dividend -- said net income in the quarter ended Jan. 4 was $1.2 million or 15 cents a share, down from $3.4 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier.

    Total revenue in the quarter fell to $382.7 million from $385.8 million in the prior year, the company said. It added that retail sales at its supermarkets open at least a year or same-store sales, fell 3.8 percent.

    "Because of our industry's economic and competitive climate, we are focusing on cash flow and placing significant emphasis on expense reduction, inventory and capital management," said chairman and CEO Don E. Marsh. "We have lowered long term debt, and selling, general and administrative expense was controlled to levels approximately equal to last year. I expect further improvements in the coming months. Our merchandising strategy, coupled with our cash flow focus, will serve us well during this difficult time."

    During the quarter, the company closed two Village Pantry convenience stores and halted its Fresh Express home delivery service.

    Subsequent to quarter end, Marsh announced that its O'Malia Food Division had reached an agreement to purchase two Mr. D's Fresh Food Markets on the south side of the Indianapolis metro area. A nearby LoBill Foods location was closed.

    Marsh is a leading regional chain, operating 67 Marsh supermarkets, 35 LoBill Foods stores, 3 Savin*$, 6 O'Malia Food Markets, and 167 Village Pantry convenience stores in central Indiana and western Ohio. The Company also operates Crystal Food Services, which provides upscale catering, cafeteria management, office coffee, vending and concessions; Primo Banquet Catering and Conference Centers; McNamara Florist and Enflora - Flowers for Business.

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