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Wal-Mart reports seeing progress in India retail

New Delhi, India Wal-Mart Stores said Monday that it sees progress being made in India toward opening up foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail.

According to CEO Mike Duke, "I see progress. [The] feeling I get is very positive in the discussions we have had,” he said.

Wal-Mart, in a joint venture with India's top telecoms group Bharti Enterprise, operates four cash-and-carry outlets in India and also supplies to retail stores run by Bharti. India's $450 billion retail sector is mostly closed to foreign firms and favors mom-and-pop stores.

The country’s current rules limit foreign direct investment in single-brand retail outlets to 51%, while retailers that carry multiple brands are restricted to cash-and-carry or wholesale outlets.

This summer, India took a tentative step toward opening up its retail sector to foreign firms by putting out a discussion paper, but it has avoided discussing changes to the existing investment cap.