France’s Carrefour says plans 2010 entry into India

NEW DELHI, February 19, 2010 (AFP) – France’s Carrefour, the world’s second largest retailer, said Friday it plans to enter India’s vast retail market in 2010 following years of delays. “Carrefour will develop its activities in India with the start of cash-and-carry activities in 2010,” the company said in a statement emailed to AFP.

Cash-and-carry is the term used for wholesale outlets.

Carrefour, number two behind US retail giant Wal-Mart, added in the statement it had been “discussing partnerships” with some Indian companies but that it did not wish to divulge names.

The company has been scouting for years for Indian partners. Retail tycoon Kishore Biyani has often been mentioned and Carrefour and his Future Group were linked most recently in an Indian media report in January.

India’s estimated 500-billion-dollar retail sector is seen as having high growth potential but it remains tightly regulated with large retailers accounting for around six percent of industry sales.

Carrefour had previously said it planned to have an Indian franchisee which would open branded hypermarkets in the country. It had said Carrefour’s 100-percent-owned cash-and-carry bu