Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer, is to enter the Indian cash-and-carry market with franchised hypermarkets to follow.

One of the French companies units; Carrefour WC & C India, will set up the cash-and-carry stores. A second unit, Carrefour India Master Franchise Co., is to tie up with an Indian company to launch direct-to-consumer stores.

While he did not mention any names, Gerard Freiszmuth, general manager for Carrefour in India said: "We are talking to three very willing Indian partners who will bring dimension to the business in a country the size of India. It could be a conglomerate, a developer, a financial institution or even a retailer."

India allows foreign retailers to own 100% cash-and-carry wholesale stores and not multi-brand retail stores selling to individuals.

"The Indian Carrefour retail stores, spread over 5,000-8,000sqm, will offer the same shopping experience like Milan or Kuala Lumpur but with lot of local flavor, even though we will have no equity participation in them" said Carrefour India managing director Herve Clec'h.