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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 in...
    Law-Now: Con­sumer Products
    Vis­it Law-Now for leg­al know-how and com­ment­ary


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    1 May 2017
    CMS, Nabarro and Olswang com­plete largest ever mer­ger...
    Cre­at­ing a new fu­ture-fa­cing firm
    Re­du­cing waste the in­nov­at­ive way
    WRAP (the UK's lead­ing sus­tain­ab­il­ity char­ity) es­tim­ates that around one third of food (and any ac­com­pa­ny­ing pack­aging) is wasted. This cre­ates a massive en­vir­on­ment­al bur­den both in terms of wasted re­sources and un­ne­ces­sary land­fill.
    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
    News of on­line re­tail sales grow­ing to ?133bn in 2016 comes as UK store open­ing fig­ures reach re­cord lows. Des­pite con­cerns that these stat­ist­ics sig­ni­fy the steady de­cline of bricks and mor­tar stores, it is pre­dicted that more and more.
    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 in­vest­ig­a­tions
    From pop-ups to pop-in: bricks and mor­tar re­tail is still im­port­ant
    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.
    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 Sec­tor...
    EU Com­pet­i­tion watch­dog takes aim at un­fair prac­tices in e-com­merce
    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.
    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.
    CMS con­fer­ence: In­ter­ven­tion, In­nov­a­tion and Dis­rup­tion...
    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.
    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 largest...
    Cal­cu­lat­ing foot­fall by cap­tur­ing feet - the new re­tail cal­cu­lat­or
    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.
    Chal­len­ging stand­ard form ex­clu­sion clauses un­der UCTA: new TCC guid­ance
    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.