Marks & Spencer say report Sunderland store is at risk of closure is "pure speculation"

The Marks & Spencer store in High Street West, Sunderland
The Marks & Spencer store in High Street West, Sunderland
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Bosses at Marks & Spencer say a report claiming its Sunderland store is among those at risk of closure is "pure speculation".

Retail analysts The Local Data Company (LDC) has released a list of M&S shops they think could be at risk of a closure or downsized.

Sunderland's store on High Street West features on a list of those that could potentially close, along with others that could be turned into Simply Food outlets.

It comes after M&S announced they will be closing 53 stores across the UK after a fall in pre-tax profit earlier this month.

However, a spokesperson for M&S said the report was "pure speculation".

They added: "It is not based on any M&S data and we have not published any locations.

"What we have done is outlined plans to improve our store estate over the next five years which include opening 200 new Food stores, and selling Clothing and Home from 60 fewer stores."

The LDC have listed which stores could close or downgrade by creating 'town health scores', compiled from a number of factors, including vacancy rates, anchor retailers, present population per shop, dwell time, charity shop presence, and the leisure offer.

Director Matthew Hopkinson said: "There are 35 towns and cities that have more than two M&S stores either on the high street, in a shopping centre, or on the edge of town in a retail park.

"If one removes the large urban centres such as London, Glasgow and other cities, there are 22 towns where one might question the need for two stores."