British high street retailer Marks & Spencer is believed to be seriously considering a foray into the food retailing sector in India.

Richard Sweet, head of M&S international franchise group, stressed that nothing has yet been finalised, but he told Business Standard: “With international firms operating in hypermarkets actively considering India as an investment destination, we cannot keep out of it.”

If the firm decides to go ahead with the operation, it would launch its branded food products through alliances with local companies, as strict government policy forbids the direct presence of retail multinationals on the domestic market. The company already operates similar franchise agreement with Planet Sports India to market its clothing products.

Food sales currently account for 40-45% of the group’s total UK turnover, and Sweet believes that there may also be a large sales potential in India: “Food retailing will be useful in terms of brand extension since the food that we market is of high quality.”