Carrefour SA, France’s largest retailer, said it plans to close its five stores in India, ending its four-year presence in the southern Asian nation.
The company informed managers in the country of its decision this evening, people familiar with the matter said.
Carrefour is exiting the country after the failure of talks with billionaire Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Group to form a joint venture for its wholesale business there.
The withdrawal will be effective at the end of September, Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based Carrefour said in a statement today. Until then, the company will continue to be “fully engaged with all its employees, suppliers, partners and customers to ensure a smooth transition,” it said.
India’s retail market is projected to be worth $865 billion by 2023, according to consultant Technopak Advisors Pvt. Local laws require international retailers to find an Indian partner to open supermarkets. Tesco Plc is the only global chain that plans to open such outlets, with India’s Tata Group. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Germany’s Metro AG and Carrefour all run wholesale warehouse-like stores where only registered traders can shop.
Franck Kenner, a spokesman at Carrefour’s Indian unit, declined to comment when asked about whether the company is considering selling any of its stores to rivals. India’s CNBC television channel reported last month that Wal-Mart is in talks to buy some of the French retailer’s stores in India.