Country's retail market is worth £116 billion
Next is tipped to be the next UK retailer to enter India's£116 billion retail market.

It is reportedly in talks with Planet Sports - the Indian joint venture partner of Marks & Spencer and Debenhams - to secure a franchise deal.

Next already has a presence in India, through its customer services subsidiary Ventura and a Delhi sourcing office.

Large chains account for only 3 per cent of India's retail market. Ernst & Young retail director Tim Sleep said: 'India is going to be a big market in the future and retailers prepared to take the plunge now will be in a good position in years to come.'

Next's franchise arm accounted for sales of£16.5 million and profit of£3.3 million in the first half of this year.

Marks & Spencer is due to open its eighth Indian franchise store in Chennai by the end of the year, but could open as many as 50 shops there in the next five years.