- Indiana-based grocery chain Marsh Supermarkets said all of its in-store pharmacies close permanently on Wednesday in an effort to save money, according to Progressive Grocer. Thirty-seven out of its 64 grocery locations currently feature pharmacies.
- Marsh apparently has sold its customer prescription accounts to CVS, which took over pharmacy operations for Target last year.
- The company is reportedly behind on payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent, taxes and fees for services, and has been forced to close a growing number of stores.
Marsh's pharmacy closings are bad news for a grocery chain that's already struggling. The retailer only has 54 supermarket locations operating in Indiana and Ohio, down from the 120 locations it had in 2006.
Analysts for years have suggested that Marsh was headed for trouble when it did virtually nothing to combat the numerous retailers invading its home turf of Indianapolis and the Midwest. It now has to compete with the likes of Meijer, Safeway, Whole Foods, Wal-Mart, Aldi, Earth Fare and Fresh Thyme.
Many of Marsh's customers counted on the pharmacy portion of the store, so this move is likely to drive shoppers to other stores that offer both the service and food items.
Pharmacy can be an important asset for retailers. In 2015, Target experienced a 4.9% decrease in store-wide sales, blamed in part by the sale of its pharmacy unit to CVS. Consumer purchasing patterns may be changing, however — CVS saw its pharmacy sales drop over the last year as more consumers headed to bigger retailers for their pharmacy items and groceries so they don’t have to stop at two places.
This latest move by Marsh appears to be the latest nail in its coffin. It may be only a matter of time before the retailer’s troubles finally overwhelm the company.