shelf with ties in a store

Consumer Products

United Kingdom

Today’s consumer is well-informed, connected and global, demanding more choice, faster gratification and a direct relationship with brands. For manufacturers and retailers alike, success in the sector means driving new innovations, as well as facing the myriad challenges that come with changing regulatory frameworks, competitive pressures, new technologies, omni-channel, and engaging in emerging markets.

You need a legal adviser that understands the unique challenges of your world. Whether you operate in FMCG, Retail, Fashion & Luxury or Household Goods, we have over 60 specialised advisors in the UK alone with a deep understanding of the legal, commercial and regulatory issues that govern the sector and who are ready to help you deliver your strategic ambitions.

We advise on both contentious and non-contentious issues including: M&A; joint ventures; finance; brand protection and IP strategies; infrastructure and digital transformation; procurement, logistics and fulfilment; supply chain transformation; franchising; e-commerce; data protection; merchandising and celebrity endorsements; real estate; competition and antitrust; commercial contracts; regulatory; employment; labelling; product liability; product recall; marketing and advertising, anti-bribery and corruption; and tax.

Our expertise is reflected in the clients who trust us with their most sensitive and strategic matters. We advise many of the top FMCG companies including Nestle, Unilever, and Finsbury Foods. Our market leading retail and e-commerce practice enables us to represent high street and online retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Sports Direct and NET-A-PORTER.COM. We also work for high street fashion clients such as Diesel, Barbour, White Stuff, and Timberland and luxury brands including Stella McCartney and Richemont (owners of Mont Blanc, Cartier and Chloé).

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    Fashion & Luxury

    Today’s fashion and luxury brands face intense pressures, from shifting global demand patterns to disruptive new technologies. The physical and online worlds are blurring, forcing brands to rethink retail portfolios and digitise their in-store experiences. All the while companies must tackle the issues of counterfeit goods, maintaining brand reputation, and managing the bottom-line.

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    Food & Drink

    Food and drink companies operate in challenging times. Shifts in the grocery market are placing intense pressure on margins, compliance and regulatory burdens are growing, and there is mounting emphasis on supply chain transparency. Meanwhile, public interest in diet and health, animal welfare, and sustainability, as well as complex rules on nutrition and functional food claims, all form part of a complex landscape that food and drinks companies must navigate in order to run their businesses successfully.

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    Health & Beauty

    Today’s health and beauty companies face intense challenges and competition that require that managers have access to the right legal advice. Failure to factor in changes to the competition regime, whether in the UK, EU, or globally, can seriously damage a company’s growth plans.

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    Producers of household goods face a range of commercial and legal challenges, as well as intense and increasing competition. Companies need to do what they can to protect innovative concepts and designs, and also to protect the brand, both in terms of their own and competitors’ advertising claims, and more generally in the media. A new era of connected smart devices is also driving significant new opportunities for the industry, but raises new challenges as companies race to develop or acquire IP and grapple with the data protection implications of the Internet of Things.

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    The manufacturing industry is experiencing a period of significant transformation as global economic, social, regulatory and technological trends fundamentally change how and where goods are produced and sold. Manufacturers are under pressure to deliver new innovations faster, with greater customisation, all whilst maintaining profitability and reducing risk.

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    The retail sector in the UK and internationally faces unprecedented disruption. Retailers must adapt rapidly as the lines blur between the high street and online retails, as the requirements of omnichannel place pressure on supply chains, and as consumer behaviours continue to change.

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    Highlights of our experience in Consumer Products...
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    1 May 2017
    CMS, Nabarro and Olswang complete largest ever mer...
    Creating a new future-facing firm
    30 Jun 17
    UK Consumer Products Conference
    From pop-ups to pop-in: bricks and mortar retail is still importa...
    In May Hammerson launched the Up Market initiative in partnership with Appear Here, the online leader in retail rental space. Under the three year deal, up-and-coming retailers will occupy retail space within Hammerson's shopping centre portfolio on a temporary basis.
    Commercial approach to interpreting lease provisions
    T Grimes v Trustees of the Essex Farmers & Union Hunt [19 May 2017] Summary The Court of Appeal adopts a commercial approach to the interpretation of a notices provision in a lease. Facts An agricultural tenancy agreement provided that any notice may be served.
    11 January 2017
    Food and beverage
    EU Competition watchdog takes aim at unfair practices in e-commer...
    Publication of the European Commission's final report on the e-commerce sector marks the culmination of a 2-year inquiry looking at competition in EU markets for online sale of consumer goods and digital content.
    Business Rates: The valuation of stripped out premises
    The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has updated its practice note on valuation principles in the light of the decision of the Supreme Court in Newbigin (Valuation Officer) v S J & J Monk (a firm).   The amendments refer to Part 6: Disrepair practice note and now.
    11 January 2017
    Consumer products and retail disputes and investig...
    After a mixed year in retail, Retail Consigliere looks at how British retailers have performed in the last twelve months, how online retailers fared and where this leaves the high street.   Fashion retailers have had a particularly tough time.
    Trading rules, alcohol and elephants in the room
    The House of Lords review into the Licensing Act 2003 was widely expected to criticise 24 hour licensing and propose a return to the last bell at 11 o’clock. Instead, the focus was on the off trade consumption and a recommendation that the Scottish policy of.
    13 December 2016
    CMS, Nabarro and Olswang confirm Practice and Sect...
    Calculating footfall by capturing feet - the new retail calculato...
    The arrival of spring and warmer weather is helping to increase footfall in retail outlets. How do we know? Well retailers use all sorts of technologies to track visitor demographics, spatial and behavioural activities in their stores.
    CMS launches CEE Real Estate Investment Compass 2017
    2016’s record-breaking EUR 12. 2bn investment in the real estate sector in the CEE region is likely to be surpassed in 2017 – this is according to the CEE Real Estate Investment Compass 2017 published by CMS in cooperation with Colliers International.
    Chris Watson
    CMS conference: Intervention, Innovation and Disru...
    Innovative technology set to bring an end to shopping queues
    Supermarkets have seen big changes in checkout technology over the last decade. First there was self-checkout, and then contactless payments and mobile payment technology like Apple Pay, and next we could see queues for checkouts eliminated altogether.
    The latest on GSCOP (the ‘Code’) and the Grocery Code Adjudicator
    Whilst 2016 saw the Grocery Code Adjudicator (‘GCA’) conclude her first investigation under the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) the GCA has continued her active regulation of the grocery sector and has had a busy start to 2017.
    10 October 2016
    CMS, Nabarro and Olswang combine to create 6th lar...
    Challenging standard form exclusion clauses under UCTA: new TCC g...
    A TCC decision last week has rejected an attempt to challenge a broadly drafted standard form exclusion clause under the Unfair Contract Terms Act. The decision gives helpful guidance as to the circumstances in which broadly drafted exclusions might be considered.