Carrefour and Reliance negate prevailing grapevine

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Even as French retailer Carrefour is yet to finalise a partner in India for launching its operations and a decision in this regard could be expected this month, “whatever is appearing in a section of the media is just speculative,” a spokesman for the French retailer told Indiaretailing referring to the possible joint venture between the French company and Reliance Retail.

In fact, even a Reliance Retail spokesperson, when contacted, told Indiaretailing that “there is absolutely no such move by the company and it is all in the realm of speculation.”

Expressing surprise over the report, the spokesperson said “there has been no such move till now by the group.”

“Carrefour has held discussions with a large number of retailers in India over the past year and has now shortlisted three of them. The final partner will be announced in January,” the spokesman for Carrefour said.

Though the name of the final partner is still under wraps, the spokesman said the French retailer has formed two companies, Carefour India and Carefour WC and C (wholesale cash-and-carry), which will oversee operations in India with its joint-venture partner.

On the move to have multiple partners—like it has in China, the spokesman said, “China is a huge country and the circumstances are different in the two countries. As of now, we will be having only a single partner.”

Carrefour, which has shortlisted three Indian companies, is expected to announce its partner in January 2008 and launch its first joint-venture hypermarkets in India around mid-2009.

Top executives of the company have been visiting India and engaged in talks with a large cross-section of Indian counterparts to select a partner.

Asked about the plans for the hypermarkets, the spokesperson said, “These would be between 4,000 and 10,000 square metres. Of course, the location of these hypermarkets and other details would be worked out once the company finalises who its partner would be in this country.”

As the spokesman said, “Since India is a growing market and retail is catching up in a big way, it is felt that Carrefour would be able to give value to its customers in this country.”

– Sri Krishna

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