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AYER — Hannaford Supermarkets will close its store in Ayer at the end of January 2015, the company announced on Thursday.

With the Ayer store’s lease expiring, Hannaford decided to concentrate on its seven other supermarkets in the region, said company spokesman Eric Blom.

“We are letting everyone know about this difficult decision nearly three months in advance so that associates in Ayer have time to identify other employment opportunities at Hannaford,” Blom said.

The Ayer store’s 21 full-time and 66 part-time associates received the news Thursday, and work immediately began to find new opportunities for them.

Other Hannaford stores in the region have larger employment levels than Ayer, which is among the smallest of Hannaford’s 187 stores. Some Hannaford supermarkets are three times larger than the store in Ayer.

“We will continue to serve customers in Ayer until Jan. 30, 2015,” Blom said.

Any employee who does not accept a new position with Hannaford in the next three months will receive severance and support services to find alternate employment, Blom said.

Hannaford Supermarkets, based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 187 stores in the Northeast and New York. Locally, Hannaford operates in Lowell, Townsend, Dracut, Pelham, Nashua and Hudson N.H.

Hannaford employs more than 27,000 people.