French retail giant Carrefour to exit India wholesale operations: Reports

MUMBAI - French retail giant Carrefour SA has begun making plans to exit its India wholesale operations, the Times of India reported on Saturday.

Carrefour operates five wholesale cash-and-carry outlets in India and, after foreign investment rules were eased in 2012, it had been widely expected to set up a chain of supermarkets.

The company has seen senior-level exits from its India business recently and some employees may be asked to leave over the next few weeks, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.

A report in the Business Standard newspaper on Saturday, also citing unamed sources, said the company has been working on an exit plan for India for the past two weeks and is expected to cut staff positions in the coming weeks. A Carrefour spokesperson in Paris declined to comment.

So far only Britain's Tesco PLC has announced plans to invest in India after the federal government gave foreign supermarket chains the green light in 2012. Global retailers have maintained that India's retail regulations, including mandatory 30 per cent local sourcing from small and medium-sized enterprises, and the ability of states to enact their own legislation for foreign chains, will be difficult to comply with.

Last month, the Bhartiya Janata Party, widely expected to lead India's next government, said it would ban foreign supermarkets from the US$500 billion (S$627 billion) retail sector if it comes to power.