SHOP TALK: Speculation in India is mounting that Carrefour is about to ink a deal with Future Group, one of India’s largest retail conglomerates, to open more stores in the country.

The French retail giant opened its first cash and carry store in New Delhi on December 30. The parties declined to comment directly on the possibility of a deal but both said that they are exploring new business opportunities and potential partnerships.

“The group plans more cash and carry openings soon but doesn’t want to give more details at this stage. Carrefour only confirms that the next opening should be in the area of Mumbai,” said Thierry Garnier, Carrefour’s executive director for international partnerships and growth markets. “Regarding Future Group, I have nothing more specific at this time to transmit to you.”

A Future Group spokesman said: “We are in talks with a few multi-national retailers but at this point in time we are not in a position to comment on any particular one.”

Lars Olofsson, Carrefour’s chief executive officer is expected to travel to India to finalize the deal in the next six weeks. But industry analysts warn that much depends on whether the government ultimately decides to open up multi-brand retail to foreign direct investment.  At this time, foreign firms can’t invest in multi-brand retailers but they can hold a 51 percent stake in a single-brand venture or hold a 100 percent stake in the cash-and-carry segment.

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