French retailer puts India plans on hold

French retailer puts India plans on hold

MUMBAI - Agence France-Presse
French retailer puts India plans on hold

A woman shops in the cheese section of a Carrefour supermarket in the northern French city of Hazebrouck. The retailer hesitates expanding in the Indian market. AFP photo

French retail giant Carrefour has put on hold its plans of expansion for wholesale stores in India thanks to the global downturn, a report said yesterday.

The report in the Business Standard newspaper came as many foreign investors have been put off India due to a sharply slowing economy and a string of government corruption scandals.

‘Worsening climate’

Carrefour is “rationalizing” its store expansion plans in India due to a worsening global economic climate, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources. A company spokesman had no comment on the report. Carrefour--which opened its first cash-and-carry store in India in 2010--planned to open an outlet in the western city of Pune, but “that is now on the backburner,” the newspaper said, quoting two sources.

Some of the other store openings it had planned for 2012, widely expected to be an aggressive launch year for the chain in India, might also be delayed, the sources told the newspaper.

Strict financial discipline

Six months after finalizing as many as 12 real estate leases across India, the company has put on hold hiring for its planned outlets, the sources said.

Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer after the United States-based giant Wal-Mart, operates two wholesale stores in India, catering to food firms, restaurants and retailers.

The group said in its most recent annual report it intended to maintain strict financial discipline in response to a challenging business environment.

French retailer,