A retail expert has suggested to the BBC that the Sainsbury’s/Asda merger could potentially see 73 stores close down.

David Haywood, founder of Maximise UK, an expert in identifying the best locations for stores, told the BBC he estimates that around 6%, or around 73, of the supermarket group’s shops will be put at risk.

According to Haywood’s calculations, the sites that are the most likely to be effected are those in the south-east and north-west of England.

He added: “There hasn’t been a retail deal like this in more than a decade.

“The real focus will be on how Sainsbury’s and Asda’s main supermarkets operate at a local level and how they overlap. The CMA will be concerned about whether the deal reduces the number of competing brands within a 10 or 15 minute drive time.”

The merger, which was announced recently, will see two of the ‘big four’ retailers combine but retain their own brands.

The deal would make the group the largest in the UK in terms of market share, however this acquisition could be under threat from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

In order for the merger to take place the CMA has to approve the deal, and that is expected to only happen if both brands close a number of their stores, the BBC report suggests.

The duty of the CMA is to prevent companies from being too dominant which is a concern of the proposed merger.

The CMA’s decision however is expected to take up to a year, meaning the fate of the 73 shops will not be clear any time soon.

Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe has denied suggestions that stores will be closing.

He said: “The stores will continue to trade and of course that’s where the vast majority of people employed by both companies actually work.”