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Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets is planning to open up to 13 new stores over the next three years while looking to update 52 of its 73 existing stores.
In addition to new stores anticipated by the end of 2018, the grocery chain – long considered an acquisition target – is apparently on the hunt for acquisitions of its own, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Marsh CEO Tom O'Boyle told The Star that the banner, which operates in Indiana and Ohio, is "being really aggressive and looking for potential acquisition partners." He said the locations of the first two new stores could come within a few weeks. O'Boyle told The Star he wants to open three stores in fiscal 2016 and five each in 2017 and 2018.
The announcement is a significant reversal for Marsh, which has been shuttering stores in recent years. The chain closed eight stores in 2014 as part of what the company described as a three-year plan to position the grocer for growth and greater profitability.
Two years before that, Marsh closed three stores after a “thorough review” of the chain’s market viability.
O’Boyle told The Star that Marsh has spent millions on store remodels and other improvements over the past year and a half, with upgrades to 30 more stores expected in the coming year.
Meanwhile, grocery competition in the Hoosier State is ramping up. Kroger has invested significantly in its Indianapolis-area stores, Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle planted its flag in Indiana’s capital city with two stores, and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market has opened five stores in the Indianapolis area as part of its Midwest expansion.
In addition, Meijer – PG’s 2015 Retailer of the Year -- is poised to open its 12th Indianapolis-area store, organic grocer Earth Fare has three area stores and Whole Foods Market is planning to open a store downtown.