Marks & Spencer is understood to have held talks with Reliance Industries about selling its food range in India.

As exclusively revealed in Retail Week last week, the retailer is thought to be among a group of European brands that had discussed possible tie-ups with the Indian conglomerate.

Reliance wants to build “seamless malls”, which are developments that will include shop in shops and standalone boutiques in large cities, including Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore.

A source close to Reliance told The Times: “We expect to have something substantial to announce in four to five months.”

M&S sells clothes in India through a franchise agreement with Planet Retail. Reliance has also held talks with luxury retailers such as Versace, Bulgari and Cartier.

Last November, Sir Stuart Rose revealed a fresh push into international markets, which he expects will account for about 20 per cent of revenue in five years, from less than 10 per cent now.

The retailer wants to enter China on a wholly owned basis and is seeking to trade from bigger formats of about 40,000 sq ft in India.

Bhs opens in India with M&S hot on its tail