UK supermarket giant Tesco and local Indian holding company Bharti Enterprises are reportedly proceeding with talks to open the country’s first non-Indian grocery chain.


The Bharti group could become a franchisee for Tesco in a bid by the retailer to break into the Indian market, which is shielded from 100% foreign investment by law, according to a report in the Business Standard daily newspaper.


“Planning is underway and a team is carrying out extensive research and is testing various models,” Bharti chairman and managing director Sunil Mittal told the newspaper. According to Mittal, the companies have set a 90-day timeframe for talks, which is due to end on 10 October.


The Indian government only allows 51% foreign investment in food retail, but international chains are free to appoint franchisees in the country. Tesco was unavailable for comment when contacted by just-food.