UK retailer Marks and Spencer has declined to comment on reports it is looking to start food retailing in India.

The retail group operates a joint venture with Reliance Retail to run clothing stores in India. The two companies are understood to be seeking permission from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for a move into food retail, according to Fashion United India.

The retailer operates around 28 stores in India selling clothing and home products in the country. While it does sell ambient food in some of its overseas stores, it does not in India.

According to Fashion United India, M&S has already started booking larger store locations in new malls ahead of rolling out its food business if it gets the go ahead. The retailer will only likely sell packed foods such as deli and bakery items and they will form part of the fashion and home products divisions under one roof.

However, a spokesperson for the retailer declined to comment on the reports when contacted by just-food.