INDIANAPOLIS (FNS) -- Marsh Supermarkets here has reshuffled top managers and last week said it expects an earnings rebound after a $7.1 million net loss in the first quarter.
"This is the first time I've had reason to say that," Don E. Marsh, chairman, president and chief executive officer, told shareholders at the company's annual meeting here last week.
Marsh said he's optimistic because the company has weathered a period of intense competition, especially in metro Indianapolis. He also expects Marsh to regain market share and lost customers by continuing an aggressive marketing plan that includes a co-branded Visa card, a frequent shopper program and start-up of a home delivery service.
About 43% of the company's stores were pitted against 11 Meijer supercenters that have opened in Marsh's trade area since 1993, Marsh noted, adding that he doesn't foresee new competition and expects to focus on areas outside Indianapolis for growth over the next year.
This year, the company plans to open a 65,000-square-foot replacement unit in Muncie, Ind.; convert three small Marsh Supermarkets into LoBill small-market units; and open two to five Village Pantry convenience stores as new or replacement units, Marsh said. Other initiatives include a 60,000-square-foot addition to the company's perishables warehouse in Muncie, and opening a 40,000-square-foot central commissary in Noblesville, Ind., to provide prepared meals.
A Marsh spokeswoman also said executives are honing their understanding of operations via an ongoing cross-training program. In moves late last month, she said, Frank Bryja, formerly vice president of merchandising, was named president and chief operating officer of Marsh Supermarkets. He succeeds Ron Walicki, who was appointed to the same slot at Village Pantry, the position he held before going over to the supermarket division. David Redden, who held Walicki's new slot, was named senior vice president of human resources. Bruce Bain, formerly a human resources director, was made a district supervisor in the supermarket arm. Arthur Marsh, Don Marsh's son, succeeds Bryja as vice president of merchandising; he was a merchandising director.