The UK's Tesco is reportedly in talks with potential Indian partners, including Tata Sons, with a view to entering the country's burgeoning US$300bn retail market.

"We are interested in India and are researching the market," a Tesco spokesman told just-food.

Indian regulations prohibit foreign companies from owning multi-brand retailers, but they can invest in wholesale and back-end operations.

Tesco had been in negotiations with Indian telecommunications giant Bharti Enterprises regarding a possible tie-up, but was pipped at the post by US retail powerhouse Wal-Mart. The UK's number one retailer is now understood to be holding negotiations with various other Indian groups, notably the Tata Group.

Indian business house Tata already has a presence in the retail market, operating lifestyle and apparel stores. 

Tata was unavailable for comment at time of press.