Carrefour has "small" cash-and-carry business in India

Carrefour has "small" cash-and-carry business in India

Carrefour CEO Georges Plassat today (5 March) indicated the company could announce if it will exploit the easing of regulations on foreign direct investment in India's retail sector in a matter of months.

The French retail giant set up a cash-and-carry business in India in 2010 and there has been local speculation it could enter the multi-brand, consumer-facing retail channel after New Delhi relaxed restrictions last year.

Speaking to media and analysts in Paris this morning after Carrefour reported its 2013 results, Plassat said the world's second-largest retailer was mulling its options for India but could soon announce a decision.

"We are currently thinking about India. We have a small busines in India - it doesn't bring any losses or gains - but the true challenge is to know how to tackle India for the next 20 years," Plassat said. "The changes in the regulatory framework still mean this is a very complex, challenging country. I cannot tell you where we are because I don't know, to be honest. We are currently working on that. I think we will be able to answer your question in the next few months."

In December, Tesco set out a plan to become the first foreign retailer in India to run multi-brand outlets, with a deal to invest in local operator Trent Hypermarket.

The UK retail giant struck a deal to own 50% of Trent Hypermarket Limited, a retail subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Tata Group.

Wal-Mart, which last autumn decided to go it alone in India with the end of its wholesale venture with Bharti Enterprises, has indicated it believes India's new rules on overseas investment in consumer-facing stores are not yet right.

Carrefour, which has quit some international markets in recent years, has indicated plans to invest in emerging markets. Its operations in Asia take in stores in China and Taiwan.