A MAJOR high-street chain has announced that it is set to close a number of stores over the next five years.

Marks and Spencer is set to close 67 of its “lower productivity, full line stores”, announcing that it will open 104 “bigger and fresher” stores in their place.

At time of writing, the chain has not announced which stores are to be closed.

An M&S spokesperson said: “We haven’t made any new announcements about store closures.

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“You may have seen some reporting around our presentation to investors last week but the information that was reshared here about our stores is just about our existing long-term plan to rotate our store estate.”

There are two M&S branches in Basingstoke, one located at Festival Place shopping centre, while the other is located at Chineham shopping centre.

Shoppers have shared their fears that their local branch may be closed.

Basingstoke resident Liz Wheeler said that she would be “devastated” if the Festival Place branch closed.

Basingstoke Gazette: Liz Wheeler said she would be "devastated" if M&S closedLiz Wheeler said she would be "devastated" if M&S closed (Image: Newsquest)She continued: “I live locally, up Church Square, and it’s just so easy to walk too and it’s such nice quality food.

“And I have to make a choice between taking my car out to a bigger supermarket that might be cheaper but it’s residents only so I could lose my bay.”

Likewise, Tanya Thorne said that she would view it as “a huge loss” if the branch was shut.

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“I live equidistant between here and some of the bigger stores, but I find this one, in terms of quality of food, the ease of shopping, etc, it’s a necessity.

“I would be absolutely devastated if it were to go, to be honest.

“We’ve already lost John Lewis, so we can’t be losing Marks and Spencer as well.”

Betty Scott said: “I don’t want it to close, we need it really.

Basingstoke Gazette: Betty Scott questioned the decisionBetty Scott questioned the decision (Image: Newsquest)“I live locally, and I come here nearly every day.

“We need it here because all of these shops have been closing recently.”