Auchan has declined to comment on fresh reports in India that it is close to a deal on a partnership in the country with Dubai-based Landmark Group.

The Times of India today (5 July) reported the French retailer and Landmark are set to reveal a franchise agreement for India.

The venture would see Auchan open 85 stores in India over the next six years, the newspaper said.

A spokesperson for Auchan said Auchan was monitoring the Indian market and had had discussions with companies about possible ventures.

"India is one of the countries we are watching because of its size and economic growth. We have talks with actors in the market," he said.

However, he was coy about the reports linking Auchan to Landmark. "We do not comment on market rumours." 

Speculation about a possible deal between Auchan and Landmark first surfaced this year. Last month, The Wall Street Journal said the two companies had agreed on a deal in principle. However, speaking to just-food, Landmark refused to comment, saying it remained in talks with "potential partners".

Landmark has worked with Spar International in India but the two sides have decided to end their venture.