Marks and Spencer today distanced itself from claims that it is likely to close its stores in Fareham and Chichester.
The Daily Mail reported that they were named in a list compiled by the Local Data Company of the M&S stores most likely to be affected by the company’s announcement last week of widescale store closures.
The researchers’ list also includes the store at Whiteley.
The paper also reported that the stores named were considered vulnerable if their town centre was already in decline.
But today Marks and Spencer refused to be drawn into speculation on the future of its branches in Chichester city centre.
A spokesman said: ‘I can confirm that we will close 30 stores. Sixty is the number affected but with that we will be closing 30 stores and there are locations where we will have stores that we will convert to a food store. ‘Forty-five will be converted or downsized to Simply Food stores. ‘Every single location is different and what you won’t get is some good numbers which add up together. What was said on Tuesday is these are plans over the next five years. ‘In five years there will be more M&S stores than there are today. ‘The list that has appeared in the Daily Mail is pure speculation. 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.’ He added they will confirm each store over the next five years when it is affected.