Carrefour today (15 April) met with over 600 suppliers in India as the French retail giant laid out plans to open its first cash-and-carry outlet in the country by the start of next year at the latest.

The world’s second-largest retailer held the meeting in New Delhi, in and around where the company plans to open its first outlet “at the very end of this year or the beginning of 2010”, it said.

“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.

Current Indian legislation has blocked the entry of foreign multi-brand retailers – such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Tesco – into the consumer retail market. Multi-brand retailers are only allowed to operate wholesale businesses or work with an Indian partner through franchise and licensing agreements.

“We pursue discussions with potential partners for the hypermarket format,” Carrefour said.