French retail giant Carrefour has denied reports it has signed a partnership deal with Indian retailer Reliance Retail.

Carrefour is understood to have been in “months” of inconclusive talks with one of India’s largest retailers, Future Group, but has now cast its net wider. Reports have suggested the French group has signed a deal with Reliance Retail, which is expected to be announced over the next few months.

Carrefour, however, has refuted the reports. A spokesperson for the French retailer told just-food today (27 April): “Our priority [in India] is the opening of our first store of cash & carry at the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010. On the hypermarket level, we pursue our analysis of every opportunity of partnership. At this moment, no signature of partnership occurred.”

Last month Carrefour met with over 600 suppliers in India to lay out plans to open its first cash-and-carry outlet in the country by the start of next year at the latest.

“This meeting had three objectives: to introduce Carrefour Group and the project of Carrefour in India, to return more in detail on the concept of the cash-and-carry store and to present the working specifications and the mode of collaboration with suppliers,” the retailer told just-food.

Carrefour said it plans “first and foremost” to focus on setting up its cash-and-carry operations in India before looking at possible hypermarket outlets.