French retailer Carrefour has opened its first cash-and-carry store in India after months of speculation.

The store, in the Indian city of New Delhi, opened last week and operates under the name Carrefour Wholesale Cash&Carry.

There has been ongoing speculation about Carrefour’s plans for the emerging market for some time. Carrefour has been linked to possible partnerships with India’s leading retailers, particularly to Pantaloon – The Future Group’s retail division – and Reliance Retail.

In December, The Future Group was reported to be in talks with Carrefour over a franchise deal that would see the Indian group set up stores that would source directly from the French retailer.

Carrefour’s first store has a sales area of 5200m2 and offers around 10,000 SKUs in food and non-food to professional businesses, institutions, restaurants and local retailers.

Foreign ownership rules in the country mean that Carrefour is only able to operate wholesale outlets and provide back-end support to local operators.

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The retailer said the store is in line with its strategy to be present in “major emerging markets that offer significant expansion and medium- and long-term growth opportunities”.

Carrefour CEO Lars Olofsson said: “The opening of this first store marks Carrefour’s entry into the Indian market and will be followed shortly by the opening of other cash & carry stores. This first step is essential to allow the Carrefour teams to fully understand the specificities of the Indian market and then build our presence in other formats.”