METHUEN — Stop & Shop at The Loop will permanently close Feb. 29, not the end of July as grocery store officials announced last year.
A statement from Stop & Shop on Wednesday explained the decision to close the store earlier than intended was "due to a variety of factors, including financial performance."
The company offered all 19 full-time and 73 part-time employees opportunities to transfer to other area Stop & Shop locations, according to the company statement. The closest location is in Andover, at 209 N. Main St.
In October 2019, Stop & Shop announced "the difficult decision" not to renew the lease at The Loop — which expires July 31 — following "unmet financial expectations." They said at the time that it would be "business as usual" until July 31.
A sign that appeared in the store in recent weeks alerted customers of the new closing date.
Mayor Neil Perry has been vocal since his inauguration last month about promoting a Trader Joe's or Wegmans grocery store in the soon-to-be vacant space. He told residents to get involved, reach out to companies they would like to see join the community and spread a simple message — "Methuen is open for business."
According to Economic and Community Development Director Bill Buckley, no business has officially signed on to fill the space yet.
"What Stop & Shop does by leaving early is expedite the opportunity for a new tenant to see the space, envision the space and maybe move in earlier than planned," Buckley said.
He would not name businesses that have expressed interest, but hinted "there are some exciting options that Loop management is exploring."