'Reliance in joint venture talks with Marks & Spencer'

Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 14:11 Hrs
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London: Spurred by reports of rivals John Lewis considering an Indian expansion, British retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S)are in talks with Reliance Industries Ltd about selling its food range in India, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Times in a report from Mumbai quoted a source close to Reliance Industries as saying the Indian group had discussed possible joint ventures with several western brands, including M&S.

The newspaper said M&S plans in India could be pushed by recent reports suggesting John Lewis, which runs the Waitrose supermarket chain in Britain, is looking to accelerate its Indian expansion.

"We expect to have something substantial to announce in four to five months," the source told the Times.

India and China are among the most lucrative markets for M&S, with plans to invest up to 1.1 billion pounds ($2.2 billion or 86.5 billion).

Chief executive Stuart Rose said in November that he wants to double the group's international revenues over the next five years.

The retailer will open a wholly owned store in China before the end of the financial year.

"India is an equally exciting long-term opportunity and a market where we have been trading for six years. We are looking to accelerate the pace of growth in this fast developing economy over the next few years," Rose said.
Source: IANS
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