UK retailer Marks & Spencer and Reliance Retail remain locked in talks over a potential joint venture in India, just-food understands.

The two companies are discussing plans to join forces to sell clothing and food in India but have yet to come to a decision on the form of any partnership.

M&S has sold clothes in India since 2001 through a franchise accord with India's Planet Retail. The company's 13 franchise stores mostly sell clothing, although an outlet in Delhi does sell a selected range of ambient food.

India's organised retail sector is worth over US$400m and is expected to double by 2015 but the expansion of the market and the possibility of investment from multinational retailers has been fiercely opposed by small retailers and caused political apprehensions.

When contacted by just-food, a spokesman for Reliance declined to comment on whether the Indian retailer was in talks with M&S.