MARKS and Spencer could shut its store in Basildon town centre in a string of nationwide closures.

The branch, in Town Square, is one of dozens of stores identified as at risk of closure by the Local Data Company.

Last week, Marks and Spencer announced it would shut 30 branches across the country and convert 45 others to Simply Food stores due to declining profits.

But the chain insists it is yet to confirm the locations of any closures.

Local Data Company director Matthew Hopkinson told the Daily Mail: “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.”

In Basildon, there is also a Simply Food store based on the Mayflower Retail Park.

Elsewhere in Essex, the M&S branch in Brentwood High Street has also been included in the Local Data Company list.

M&S has dismissed the list as "speculation".

A spokesman for the chain said: “We are very disappointed that anyone would choose to speculate in this way.

"This list 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.”