Talbott: Marsh Failed to Stand Out

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An Indiana University Kelley School of Business retail expert says Indianapolis-based Marsh Supermarkets failed to carve out a unique position in a very competitive marketplace, leading to its current financial state. John Talbott says it is tough to compete with retailers like Kroger and Walmart, which have more resources. The grocery chain announced Tuesday it could close all 44 of its remaining stores in two months if it fails to find a buyer or business partner. 

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Talbott said the grocery business is a "skinny margin business" to begin with.

"It's tough to be competitive, especially given their size and scale," said Talbott. "My guess is that they maybe overextended themselves several years ago when they, I believe, increased their store count. You know, in this business environment, probably some of those stores are not performing and, overall, they're bleeding cash with the overhead structure they have."

Talbott says, perhaps, Marsh could have looked into ways to separate themselves from their competitors in order to be more appealing to customers. "I think they have, in some ways, an undifferentiated offering. What is it that makes them special? Maybe Marsh needed to be more bold and try something different."

Talbott adds, unless Marsh finds someone that sees value in its brand or location, it is unlikely the company will continue to exist.

Talbott says the grocery business is a "skinny margin business" to begin with.
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