Friday, September 17, 2010


Thierry Garnier, Carrefour's executive director 

(Reuters) - French retailer Carrefour is still seeking a local partner to enable it to set up hypermarkets in India and expects to open its first cash-and-carry store in the country in the coming months.

The new store will be in New Delhi and will have a surface area of 5,000 square metres, Thierry Garnier, Carrefour's executive director for growth markets, told Reuters on the sidelines of an investor day on Thursday.

"Today we are continuing to review all opportunities of sealing partnerships with Indian companies," Garnier said.

"Longer-term, we could develop in India as much as we did in China," Garnier said, adding that this hinged on how fast India relaxed its tight retail rules.

India's $450 billion retail sector is largely closed to foreign firms and favours small stores, which provide livelihoods for hundreds of thousands and serve a market of more than 1 billion.

Earlier this summer, India took a tentative step towards opening up its organised retail sector to foreign companies by putting out a discussion paper, but it steered clear of suggesting changes to an existing investment cap.

The cap limits foreign direct investment in single-brand retail outlets to 51 percent, while retailers that carry multiple brands are restricted to cash-and-carry or wholesale outlets.

Carrefour has been looking to break into fast-growing India for seven years. The world's second-biggest retailer has also been seeking a local partner to get into hyper or supermarkets in the country.

Carrefour will join Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, and Germany's Metro AG in operating cash-and-carry or wholesale ventures in India.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)

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